Sam’s first job

Sam is nine.

Some of our cross-the-street neighbors have a whole flock (gaggle? herd?) of chickens in their backyard.  This is a pretty interesting fact all on its own, since our neighborhood is pretty suburban.  You wouldn’t drive down our street and think livestock.


There are around 15 chickens and they’re fascinating to watch — they are of several exotic varieties plus they sometimes engage in unprovoked cock-fighting.  Because several of them are roosters, they have been known to wake up the neighbors (not us, since we’re across the street and they’re far back in the back yard).  To prevent this un-neighborliness, the chickens’ owners lock the chickens in their henhouse each night, then let them out at a reasonable hour of the morning.  Here is where Sam comes in.

These neighbors are also kind of exotic and fascinating to watch.  She is German, he is Pakistani, and they have six beautiful and brilliant children.  Each summer they take about a month off to travel.  This year they’re driving clear up to Alaska, and also going to Banff and some other interesting locations (Matt is drooling — why won’t his unambitious wife pack up all of his children and a tent for such adventures?).  During their month-long abscence, Sam is in charge of letting the chickens in and out.


Mercifully, the chickens enter the henhouse to roost each evening of their own accord.  The real fun is letting them out in the morning.  Feathers fly, they run over each other, all sorts of noises can be heard.  It is funny.


This has been the perfect job for Sam.  After initially accompanying him to be sure he felt confident with the latches on the gates and henhouse, we have let him be 100% responsible for his responsibility.  Following a discussion about how dangerous it would be for the chickens if we forgot them in the morning (what with the 100 degree temperatures and all) he thought he’d better make a little sign to remind himself.


Nine-year-olds love a job that’s all their own.


9 thoughts on “Sam’s first job

  1. Emily

    Well, well! You guys don’t need to move to Oregon to be exposed to the loveliness of livestock — you’ve got chickens next door! I’m so glad Sam’s getting this chance to prove himself responsible–so good for him and his budding work ethic. I’ve been listening to a parenting book and the author basically said that kids can’t be given too much responsibility–it’s just that good for them…so 3 cheers for Sam and his gaggle of chickens! Great pictures…and LOVE that reminder note he posted to himself. So cute.

  2. Andrew

    Our neighbors have chickens as well, and Buddy likes to go out and stiff them. It’s funny what kinds of creatures people have around. A few of our neighbors have goats, and many of them have horses.

    I’m glad Sam is doing something productive this summer, hopefully earning a little money while he does it. He must be practicing the piano a lot too, because he’s getting really good. He made sure to let us all know that by pounding on my piano when we got back from the baptism. He has a lot of pieces memorized!

  3. kira

    Man, Sam is so cute. He is getting so grown up too! My bro. has some chickens that they let go “free range” in my parents yard. Lanette had a blast chasing them and I tell ya…they are good eatin’. :) hahaha

  4. danielle

    Oh I think this is so great. What fun! See this is exactly the kind of thing I feel like we are missing out on by not living in a neighborhood. My husbands Uncle bought all these little “pets” (chickens, bees etc.) to teach his kids responsibility. It’s so great. Of course they live in rural Washington. Anyway, cute kiddo.

  5. Traci

    What a great opportunity for Sam. (good thing they are on the other side of the street) When we lived in Laie it was so funny to see kids walking down the street with chickens under their arms. Chickens roam free their and kids take them as pets! I love the sign he wrote to himself too, how cute.

  6. Christina

    We wanted to get some chickens for our backyard, but the city said we aren’t in the right zone. We go through lots of eggs at the B&B – usually over a dozen a day and eggs here are expensive ($2.50 for a dozen of regular eggs). And I thought it would be so great to have fresh fresh eggs. Oh well.

  7. Jill

    Loved Sam’s sign. By the way, remember your 3 degrees of separation blog. So I am checking out some mormon group web blogs mentioned by Richard Bushman in a transcript I read recently at the Pew Forum and I go to Times and Seasons and then I read a comment and so I want to explore the author as it is a very good point which leads me to a group called Segullah and then the author turns out to be none other than CJANE as I am directed to her site. Small world. Amazing lady.


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