Suzanne at Chickens in the Road inspired me to write about some of my chicken experiences. Here goes…
For many years while growing up, I had the pleasure of tending to chickens.
My Grandmother, it seems, always had chickens. I remember the incubator filled with several dozen chicks. I was totally awed by these little peeping beings. I wanted to hold one of those adorable little critters, but being a child I wasn’t tall enough and my arms weren’t long enough to reach inside. I was fascinated by the way they all ran in the same direction. Similar to a school of fish.
Grandma would let me tag along while she robbed the chickens of their eggs. Seemingly to never be pecked at. As I got older whe would send me, along with her egg basked, to rob the chickens. When I entered the hen house most of the chickens would take leave to the outside fenced in chicken yard. I would collect the eggs from the abandoned nests, alway saving the occupied nests for last. There would always be one or two stubborn hens that stayed with their eggs. After all, aren’t they supposed to? Being a child I was slightly intimidated by the ones in the nest. Okay, TERRIFIED! I wouldn’t take but one time being pecked at to make you a little anxious. Everytime, I would attempt to stick my hand in that nest, they would rare back and take aim. I would leave the hen house always feeling disappointed in myself that I didn’t have the nerve to get those eggs. Grandma understood and she would return to retrieve what I didn’t have the nerve to get.
When Grandma and Grandpa went on vacation, the chickens and whatever other critters they may have at the time, became the responsibility of my Dad and I. I completed that chore with pride.
Until, one day while scattering feed in the chicken yard. I accidentally threw a handful on the catwalk leading out of the hen house. Not wanting them eating off the catwalk, I scooped it up and tossed it on the ground. I turned around, took a couple of steps and was attacked by a furious rooster. I managed to get away from him and to the safety of my Dads arms. But not before he left three claw marks across my belly. Just so happens I was wearing a bathing suit on that particular day. Dad explained that seeing me pickup the feed from the catwalk, maybe he thought I was taking instead of giving. He was just protecting his brood.
I never went anywhere near those chickens again without being FULLY CLOTHED!
Finally the day came when I could have my own chickens, hen house and chicken yard. Not knowing the unspoken rule of “Never Feed Dogs Raw Chicken”. Idid. And I learned a very important lesson!
A couple of weeks after feeding raw chicken to my dogs. While pulling into my driveway, I caught sight of one of my dogs running behind a shed with something in his mouth. I investigated. That fool dog had one of my hens and she was telling him just exactly what she’d do to him if she ever got loose! After several minutes of caoxing wwe finally got the chicken away from the dog and returned her, unharmed, to the hen house.
Needless to say, we had to reinforce the chicken yard and guard it from then on.