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Darling Chickens

Darling Chickens | Mini Darling Ranges dress made from checked cotton | Megan Nielsen Blog

This post started because I wanted to share this adorable Mini Darling Ranges dress with you, but I think actually it’s about how much Birdie loves chickens. Birdie’s school has a wonderful program where they raise chickens. It’s one of the many things we love about our kid’s school. It’s a multifaceted idea – the kids learn about life cycles, learn how to be responsible and care for animals, as well as how to be more thoughtful about how we use our food scraps and look after the environment. I cannot tell you how much Birdie has thrived being a part of this program. Actually no, I will tell you, because I love it too ;)

Darling Chickens | Mini Darling Ranges dress made from checked cotton | Megan Nielsen Blog
Darling Chickens | Mini Darling Ranges dress made from checked cotton | Megan Nielsen Blog

Essentially one year group each year is chosen to be responsible for the chickens, with a group of volunteer kids forming a club who have rostered jobs to do for the chickens at various times each day. Birdie has been desperate to join since she started at this school, and spent a lot of time standing outside the chicken yard staring lovingly inside waiting for her year to come. Until oneday towards the end of last year she met a girl in the year above her, who was the current years head of the chicken club. What an incredible mentor this lovely child has been to Birdie. She took her under her wing, and spent months showing her how to handle all the responsiblities so that she would be prepped for the next year. Birdie was her adoring shadow.

Darling Chickens | Mini Darling Ranges dress made from checked cotton | Megan Nielsen Blog
Darling Chickens | Mini Darling Ranges dress made from checked cotton | Megan Nielsen Blog

So when this year came, and it was Birdie’s year groups turn – she had already spent months learning the ropes and was able to lead her yeargroup’s club and train other kids to help out. It’s be beautiful to watch her going through this experience. She has had to navigate so many challenges, become more responsible, learn to resolve conflicts, problem solve, and even get a bit tougher when it comes to things like getting dirty :)

Darling Chickens | Mini Darling Ranges dress made from checked cotton | Megan Nielsen Blog
Darling Chickens | Mini Darling Ranges dress made from checked cotton | Megan Nielsen Blog
Darling Chickens | Mini Darling Ranges dress made from checked cotton | Megan Nielsen Blog

These kids have to do everything for the chickens – they let them out early in the morning, collect food scraps to feed them, change their water, clean their food and water containers, make sure they have supplementary food available, collect eggs, clean the pen and nesting boxes, rake the yard and make sure that the chickens are safe. That last one has been interesting to watch. The kids feel so much responsibility to their chickens, even to the point of taking turns keeping an eye on the chicken yard during breaks to make sure no-one is being unkind to the birds.

But beyond these – I think the opportunities for older kids to mentor younger kids are so valuable. Children who have been a part of this group, still feel responsible years later. Highschool aged kids have to walk past the chicken area to get to their science classes – and last week a young girl of about 13, stopped, chatted to Birdie and then gave her some advice on how to hold the chickens more carefully (apparently legs dangle down is not the best way we learnt) and which water tap has the coldest water for them to drink. This whole interaction and her experience with the lovely young girl from last year are moments that are so important for kids.

Darling Chickens | Mini Darling Ranges dress made from checked cotton | Megan Nielsen Blog

I’m so proud of her, but also so grateful that an opportunity like this exists for her, and I really wish more schools did this. To see a child who has always hated tidying her room, insist she needs to get to school early to let the chickens out, feed them, clean their nesting boxes, rake the yard etc etc the list goes on – is honestly incredible. And goodness me does this girl love the chickens. Adoration, is possibly a better choice of words. It’s so heartwarming to see how much love theses 8 hens receive from Birdie and all the other lovely kiddos in the chicken club – and how they run to greet Birdie each morning.

Darling Chickens | Mini Darling Ranges dress made from checked cotton | Megan Nielsen Blog
Darling Chickens | Mini Darling Ranges dress made from checked cotton | Megan Nielsen Blog

These photos are from the school holidays, during the break from school there is a roster for all the kids in the club to come by in their break and spend a few hours with the chickens caring for their needs, doing all the jobs and letting them roam free. It was really lovely for Bunny and Buddy too – they only came to this school in High School, so they didn’t get a chance to be a part of this program – but through Birdie, in the holidays they come along to help as well. In typical Birdie style, she wore a pretty dress and brand new shoes to clean chicken poop hehe :)

Darling Chickens | Mini Darling Ranges dress made from checked cotton | Megan Nielsen Blog

This Mini Darling Ranges is a sample that Krystal made for our website listings, and the pattern matching is out of this world good. I wish you could see more, but as you can see all front views have been blocked by chickens. Apologies. It’s made from a simple cotton gingham that I believe we purchased from Potter & Co. She has loved this dress and worn it so much. Out of all my patterns for kids, I think Mini Darling Ranges it the one that Birdie has worn the most. She loves them. The great thing is that with the loose fit and wide hem (which i’ll need to let down soon) she can wear this dress for at least another year if not more.

Darling Chickens | Mini Darling Ranges dress made from checked cotton | Megan Nielsen Blog

So dear makers, I hope you have enjoyed hearing all about Birdie’s love for chickens, my love for the chicken program, and of course both of our love for Mini Darling Ranges dresses. Happy sewing everyone!

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About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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Kristin
Kristin
29 days ago

This is my favorite MN blog post ever, I think. ??