Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Chicken Love

I'm three in this picture and already I had a love affair with chickens. This one was my favorite, she was a Rhode Island Red, just like the Little Golden Book’s “Little Red Hen!” My parents lived in town but had a few hens to provide fresh eggs daily. Free range was not even in the American vocabulary, letting the hens forage for worms and fresh grass was just their normal day. I have pictures of me pushing that hen in my doll stroller, I’m not kidding!

My Grandparents lived on a real farm and had chickens and cows. When we would go to visit I loved feeding the chickens their “scratch”, a coarse ground corn and mixed grain. They would crowd around clucking, grateful for the scraps that came from Grandma’s kitchen. The hens had a “pecking order” that determined where they would fly up to roost in the chicken house at night. My Grandma pointed out things like that and it stuck with me. The Rooster was not docile like the hens, he would keep a healthy distance always watching over his flock. Living in the country meant their were dangers to the hens, like hawks, fox or snakes. His crowing was a way to alert the girls “Heads up, danger!” Roosters were bigger, more colorful and came equipped with a big beak and spurs on their legs that they would use to defend. A bad Rooster sometimes would misbehave and try to “flog” Grandma…big mistake. He could end up making a delicious pot of dumplings! Most times she simply would fluff her apron at him and that was enough to correct his impudence.

The chickens served double purpose on the farm, keeping the bugs and snakes at bay and providing delicious eggs and fried chicken. Yes, Grandma tenderly cared for that flock of chickens, but make no mistake they were there for food. During the Depression my Grandparents would sell eggs and dressed hens to the local market for income. My Mother can remember in the early spring Grandma would order “peeps,” newly hatched chicks and when they would arrive they would be kept in the kitchen to keep warm until the weather turned nice. It would have been easy to think of them as pets, cute little yellow sun drops!

We have a store called Orchelin’s Farm and Home here and they have a great selection of chicks and ducks. We go in to buy sunflower seeds and deer corn but I dream about getting a nice little chicken yard going. I know that’s not possible, my neighbors wouldn’t share my love of chickens. Just think... they could eat my nasty little bugs and scratch around the yard. They could supply me with chicken poo. They could soothe my ears with their soft cluck cluck clucking noises.

It’s wonderful having fresh eggs to enjoy. They do taste different than store-bought and definitely have brighter colored yolks. If you are lucky enough to live close to farming communities, search out a source of fresh eggs. Here in Arkansas if you keep your eyes peeled as you travel the country roads you’ll see a sign up ahead, “Fresh Eggs for Sale”. Take the time to go down that dirt road a piece and visit with a chicken farmer. You will be rewarded with a simple pleasure that’s good for you!


  1. It would be hard not to think of the chickens as pets after nurturing them as peeps.
    Love the picture of you with your chicken!

  2. Monica with Changes In The Wind suggested I read your blog post for today and I am so glad that she did. Our chickens are free range on our ten acres in the country. But Urban Chickens are making quite a splash in many communities and those towns will allow small flocks without roosters because they are too noisy. I adore my chickens and our guinea fowl and I was strictly a city girl most of my life. We do not sell our eggs but we do share them with family and friends. This was a great post. Thank you.

  3. I have an Orschelin's up the street from me. When the chicks are in, I love to go up and just look at them. One of my "country fantasies" is having a few chickens. A girl can dream, can't she? Thanks for the sweet post. N

  4. Hello Joycee, Grannie Annie is right...most towns and even cities will allow chickens but not roosters. Wichita allowed us 5 chickens when we lived there and then the small town we moved to next allowed us 12 hens but again no rooster. If you're really wanting chickens you should be able to do it! I love the picture of you holding the chicken...but I'd LOVE to see the one of you pushing the chicken in the buggy! I hope you have a wonderful day. Maura:)

  5. That chicken was bigger than you! Wonderful picture! Thanks for sharing it with us!


  6. I like playing with chicks too when I was little! It was difficult to chase after the hen, so I've chosen to play with the chicks. hahaha...
    Regards, kristy

  7. Precious pictures. My Grandmother always had hens in her back yard in Australia. We always had fresh eggs and occasionally a fresh chicken dinner.

  8. It was nice to read your post about one of my favorites - chickens!!! My hubby was upset when I raised peeps last spring, but then he worked out some great hen houses and we've had so many sales last year and this year - I think he enjoys the chickens as much as we do! We sell the extra eggs to friends and his co-workers - they appreciate the wonderful taste - so unlike store bought eggs. Me, I appreciate the comical personalities of each hen, and it is relaxing to sweep the chicken yard, provide fresh grasses and kitchen scraps, and even clean the coop! The coop he designed made cleaning chores so easy - I can get them done in about 10 minutes or less! Love my hens!


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