Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My Life With Chickens Part One

I have been lucky in my life. I grew up in a time of great turmoil in our nation, but in my little corner of North Carolina, things were relatively quiet. Relative is the key word. The world of a child creates its own brand of turmoil.

Many of these tumultuous experiences revolved around the various animals my Dad had brought home.  These included bees, rabbits, tropical fish, pigeons, and chickens.  Ah, the chickens, they hold a special place in my heart.  It is not exactly a good place.  

My Dad was endowed with a very active mind.  By day he worked at Western Electric making communications equipment for the U.S. Navy and other people. During the week, after work, he would work on the various hobbies he included my brother and I in.  The chickens were the latest in his ideas.  Join me in this journey through the world of chickens.


It was early on a Saturday morning when I heard the sound of a saw. My Dad was building something!  Powertools to a little boy are like dresses to little girls.  I was out the door in a flash, I just had to see what he was building.

When I got to my Dad he was measuring…I had learned long ago to not bother him while he was measuring…so I just sat on a an old brick and watched him. He would ask me to hold this or that while he worked.  

I finally asked him, “what are you makin’”. 

He said, “Chicken Coup”.

“Oh”, I said.

After watching for a bit longer I asked, “Why”?

Without stopping he said, “to hold chickens.”

“Ah”, I said

I thought about this for awhile, then asked “We gettin’ chickens”?

“Yes”, he said.

I ran like Paul Revere with words of impending Brit arrival to tell my brother.  This was news!

Nothing this exciting had happened since the Japanese kid had moved in up the road.  We rode our bikes up there to just look at him.  I’m sure someone would call us racists…but we had never seen a Japanese kid in person. He was ok, and he spoke English.  His grandmother was a bit strict so she didn’t let him out much.  We often wondered why a little old white lady had a Japanese grandson..but we didn’t dwell on it.  It didn’t matter now we were getting chickens!

The chickens were white…with red combs…that’s the part on their heads. My Dad said there were 24 hens, and 2 roosters.  Here is a chicken fact for you…young hens are called pullets, young roosters are called cockerels.  I will not go into the many races of chickens..that gets way complicated. 

My brother asked, “What are we going to do with them”?

My Dad said, “Eat their eggs”.

I asked, “Can we play with them”.

My Dad said, “No”.

We watched the chickens for awhile, then rode up to see the Japanese kid.  He was more fun.  Later, we brought the Japanese kid by to see the chickens…he was more interested in seeing our fort in the woods.  Just as well…chickens really are not that entertaining…or so I thought.


No comments: