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A Chicken or two or more

Growing up in rural Wisconsin meant long rides in school buses, sledding in the winter, stacking wood for the furnace, drying mittens, and wishing for summer when there was no snow shoveling or ice. But the true harbinger of spring was the day the mailman would call and ask if someone would be home as the baby chicks were at the post office.

The baby chicks usually went into one of the grainery bins—it being emptied of oats as feed for the cows and pigs—and relatively protected. A heat lamp or two was installed—the chick watering containers cleaned and set up along with grain dishes.

Twice a day the chicks would be inspected to be sure they were not piling up on each other in an effort to keep warm. it seemed like no time before they were judged old enough—mostly fledged out—to move into the chicken coop.

I don’t remember closing the door to the coop every evening nor do I remember our Border collie doing much to chase them around—they did not herd well so after a few futile attempts he left them alone except when they approached his food bowl.

My Dad did not like chickens—except when they appeared on his dinner plate. But that required butchering—and it was a group project–defeathering, burning off the pin feathers and then cutting them up—we would do about twenty five or so at a time—and it took the better part of a day—and that night we always had hamburger–never chicken.

A few were allowed to over winter to provide eggs; my grandmother who lived in town also had a half dozen chickens–and periodically would deem one for the stew pot—she made the best chicken and dumplings.

We had a brief foray into keeping chickens—they do not tend to be smart about staying in their assigned area or watching out for hawks. They also tend to subject to ‘vapors’.

But one of my nieces has several varieties of chickens and turkeys and guineas and geese—-so many feathers every where and a great deal of squawking and running about.

I would have more photos but I had not emptied the only SD card I had that day—so you will have to be happy with just the one.

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