Chickens and Ducks
Society has normalized dogs, cats and fish to be the “normal” pets, but to the Horstman family, chickens and ducks are their normal.
Laramie Horstman’s chickens and ducks loved to cuddle up with their owners and climb on them. Even though they were just chickens, they really did have little hearts that cared about their people.
“There were so many little special moments,” Laramie said. “You couldn’t help but smile.”
The Horstmans have a dog at their two-story home, and almost every summer they get some chickens. During quarantine last summer they decided to get ducks and chickens.
At the time, there were three daughters living at home with their parents: Chloe Horstman, 18, Laramie Horstman, 17, and Scarlett Horstman, 13. They have been hatching chickens for years but it was the first for their three Muscovy ducks. Chloe was very courteous to the process of the hatching of their pets.
“The first thing you do is make marks on the eggs to know when to flip them,” Chloe said. “And I made a calendar to show the approximate time they would hatch.”
After the chickens and ducks hatched, the girls looked at each of them to give them names and to choose their favorite after examining their personalities.
“The Ducks were: Dilbert, Daphne and Chuck,” Laramie said. “They were bright yellow.”
Since it was their first year hatching ducks they did not know how long it would take for them to hatch or what they would look like. But after the chickens hatched they waited for the ducks and then they finally came looking better than they imagined. Their personalities were different than they thought too.
“The most unique part is that they were so curious,” Chloe said.
The family has so many stories to tell about their animals, mostly about how curious, funny and even sweet they are.
“One time I laid on the ground and some of them fell asleep on my stomach,” Chloe said.
The chickens and ducks loved to be next to them. They would even sit on their shoulders and in their sweatshirts to get warmth. According to a friend Morgan Schultz, Laramie talked about her chickens and ducks a lot and cherished them like Schultz does her best friend, her dog. Laramie and Chloe weren’t the only ones who really liked the pets though.
“My mom was the most attached,” Laramie said. “She probably spent more time with them than we did.”
Wendy Horstman, Laramie’s mom, loved the chickens and ducks. She had her favorites, but still wanted to make sure all of them were safe from the predators around their home. According to the Horstman’s, the process of watching them hatch to getting too big to take care of them anymore is an entertaining and fun part of every year. Once the chickens started getting too big for the family to handle they had to give them away.
A tip that Chloe gave if you are considering hatching chickens is to find who will take them once you are done caring for them because it is hard to find somebody once they are big.
“Find their forever home before you even hatch them,” Chloe said.
According to Laramie, it is a difficult task to raise these pets because it is a lot of work and hours of labor and constantly watching them. But those hard tasks are part of having any pet, and the Horstmans enjoy the time with theirs.
“You grow to love them,” Laramie said.