Did you ever raise chickens? Maybe you’re one of the many backyard chicken owners right now. I’m not, but when I was a kid we always had chickens. You had to if you lived on a farm. It must have been a rule. I’m just kidding about the rule part, but every farm I knew about had hens. Fresh eggs were always in the egg basket. In the spring and summer you always had plenty. Too many. So many that my mother took baskets of them to the local grocery and traded them for other things she needed like sugar and flour and sometimes candy bars. 6 for a quarter. My favorite things for her to bring home from the store! I had a sweet tooth then and I still do.
But back to chickens. We haven’t had chickens since we moved to the farm where we’ve lived for over forty years now. One thing, we didn’t have a chicken house or a roosting room or even a barn close enough to the house to make a place for hens. Hens need a place to lay eggs and to roost. They are easy prey for many varmints if they don’t have proper shelter. So we started buying our eggs at the store instead of going out to the hen house and finding eggs freshly laid in the nest boxes. Mom always bought a hundred baby chicks every year and raised them for fryers and to add to the flock to lay eggs. I learned to pluck feathers at an early age. It was simply part of the farm life to raise and kill your own meat. We also had a freezer full of beef and pork along with the vegetables Mom froze. There were also lots of jars of beans, pickles, tomatoes, pears and more in the cellar. Farmers worked to be as self-sufficient as possible.
Chickens were a part of that. I always liked chickens. I enjoyed helping Mom feed the baby chicks and didn’t mind gathering the eggs although it was scary reaching into the dark nests or trying to get the setting hens off the nests to get their eggs. I learned to grab them just so on their wings and sling them off the nest without getting pecked. Of course you could pick them up and stick their heads under their wings and they’d calm right down. I guess no need fighting if they couldn’t see what they were up against.
The Clucky Hen Farm & Bunny
Anyway, that’s why I especially liked visiting the Clucky Hen Farm not far from where I live. I met the owners of the farm when their Maremma dog that was supposed to be guarding the chickens kept running away from home and over to visit me. It was quite a distance for her to come, but she must have fallen in love with Oscar. Or me. So it was fun seeing Bunny again. Her owners finally convinced her to stay on the job protecting her flock and she stopped coming to see us. She’s a beautiful dog and doesn’t let the coyotes or raccoons get close to her hens. Her owners were raising a hundred young chicks, the black and white ones above. And we’re enjoying farm fresh eggs again.
Any More Questions for Wednesday’s Q & A Time
I’m going to do another Q & A Wednesday, so if you’ve ever wondered something about my books or writing, or maybe about me or Oscar or even chickens, then now’s your chance. Ask away. A couple of you have asked some more questions but if I don’t get more, then it might be a short post. I know, you probably don’t believe that’s possible, but you can be sure I’m grateful for you who read my words. Thank you so much.
So have you ever raised chickens? And what questions would you like to ask me?