The lives of chicken

Manzi is an 11-year-old boy who lives in Rwanda, he is curious about animals, how they reproduce; he wonders how chicken lay eggs. One day, he was asked by his mother to buy sugar at the shop near their house. On his way back home, he met his neighbour, Mwiza, an old lady, and quickly asked her a question about chicken.

Manzi: Excuse me Mwiza. I would like to ask you a question about chicken. May I please?

Mwiza: Yes my boy. Please ask me any question.

Manzi: Thank you Mwiza. My question is only about chicken. I would like to know how chicken lay their eggs and also, the way those eggs become chicks and at the same time, eggs that are eaten by people?

Mwiza was really happy because a child had come to her to ask a question, which reminded her of her grandchildren. So Mwiza started to tell Manzi all about chicken.

“Well, my boy, chicken live a very mysterious life. One thing you have to know is that a chicken can’t lay eggs without a male chicken, called a rooster.

When the female chicken is ready to lay eggs, she will go into the house and disorganise everything. She makes strange noise outside to alert the rooster.

When the owner notices this, they make a comfortable place for it to lay its eggs. After the eggs are laid, the hen sits on all of them to keep them warm and protect them from the cold for at least 21 days.

However, the hen moves around in the morning to eat something and goes back to its eggs to sit on them again.

After some days, the chicken starts to tap the eggs with its sharp beak to crack the eggs so that the chicks come out.

The eggs we eat are also laid by hens but it is a different process. So when the rooster meets the hen and helps it lay its eggs, when the eggs are laid, the owner gets the eggs and leaves about two so that the hen doesn’t notice it.

So when the hen doesn’t sit on the eggs that the owner took, they won’t become chicks, they become the eggs that we eat.

That is how eggs that are sold are made my lovely boy.

Manzi: Thank you very much Mwiza.

Mwiza: Anytime my boy. You can come and ask me anything at any time my son.

Manzi: Thank you.

Manzi went back home and told his mother everything that Mwiza had told him. He asked his parents to buy him one rooster and a hen to see if everything that Mwiza told him was true. His parents said yes, and he was very happy.

The writer is a 13-year-old Grade Five student