I may chat about my books, what I'm writing or reading, or just general thoughts. You may read posts about my cats or just my crazy life in general. Comments are welcome, if anyone wants to interact with me. Maybe we can share war stories, whether it's writing related or just about life in general.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

C is for Chickens




We had about 150-200 chickens growing up on the farm.  There were lots of colors and several roosters.  Naturally, we had many eggs, which was a good thing because at times that’s all we ate.  It made sense to scramble a large cast iron skillet full of them to feed seven kids.  I got so sick of scrambled eggs that I can’t eat them to this day unless I doctor them up with all sorts of goodies first.

The hen house was a wood structure with boxes staked several rows high.  There was a narrow isle in between.  Mamaw (Daddy’s mother) stuffed the boxes with hay, so the chickens would roost in there every night, either in the boxes or on the crossbeams spanning the small space.

We kept the little chicks warm under a dome shaped incubator that had a light bulb in the top.  We’d also grind up corn for the chickens on an old grinder attached to Mamaw’s porch.

In the summers, we would help with gathering the eggs.  My sister, Scherri, was much better at this than I was.  I always ended up breaking several eggs because I didn’t have the delicate touch she did.  Because of this, she was the candidate to gather them once when a fox was lingering about.  She was scared to death, but Mamaw went with her and stood at the crook in the road to keep watch while she was in the hen house.



 Chickens

And of course there were always many chickens to wade through too because they squawked and made a racket until you fed them.  They would be in frenzy and pecking at each other to get at the food.  Because of this behavior, at times some of them had bare spots where feathers were missing.

Our father’s mother would have made an ideal pioneer woman.  She took to farm life and everything seemed so natural to her, even when it came to ringing the neck of a chicken for the stew pot, which she did many times.  Sometimes she’d take a small ax to them on the chopping block that sat outside the gate to her yard.  She would bring a big pot of boiling water out and have it standing by.  With the deed completed, she would immerse the chicken in the hot water to loosen its feathers.  These feathers she saved for pillows and comforters.  Not much goes to waste on a farm.

Once she plucked the chicken, she would singe it over an open flame on her gas stove.  I remember entering her kitchen and watching her do this lots of times.  I will never forget this smell.

65 comments:

  1. I aspire to keep a chicken farm. Nice post :)

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    Replies
    1. Shine,

      Thank you. I hope you get your chicken farm. :)

      Sunni

      Delete
  2. Lovely memories, Sunni. It made me recall my grandparents' home - and how we loved collecting eggs 'hot' off the hens! ;)
    Corinne Rodrigues
    Arlee's Ambassador:AtoZ Challenge
    Everyday Gyaan
    From 7Eight

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    1. Corinne,

      I'm glad I stirred some of your own memories. Our paternal grandparents lived up the dirt road from us, so we saw them daily and did farm chores together.

      Sunni

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  3. How sweet. You know, you took me right back to my childhood- I studied in a Christian school where there were residents at the back of the school. They had a mini farm with pigs and lots of hens. I remember the coops full of squawking hens...and we never tired of watching them flutter around and feed in a frenzy.

    :-) Loved the post, Sunni! Looking forward to reading more!

    Hugs

    Vidya Sury
    Rocking the A to Z Challenge with Team Damyanti
    Counting Calories
    Cholesterol and the Complications of Living with Type 2 Diabetes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Vidya. Most of my posts during the challenge will be various childhood stories.

      Thanks for reading.

      Sunni

      Delete
  4. Nostalgic, I remember my aunt's place where she had chickens, pihs, spartows, etc. We being vegans, dont eat them but sell them.

    ~ Stri

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    1. Stri,

      We weren't vegans but didn't eat much meat. My grandmother had a large garden so we ate lots of veggies and fruit. That will be in a later post. What are pihs and spartows? I haven't heard those words before.

      Sunni

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  5. OMG, I would completely freak if I had to cut the head off of a chicken!! LOL Let alone pluck his feathers. There are some folks that are just meant to be on the farm and it sounds like your grandma was in her element. Such lovely memories, so rich with vivid details! ♥

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    1. Kathy, I couldn't hack the head off a chicken either. I'm glad that wasn't required of us. :(

      Sunni

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  6. When my kids were little and they visited their friend's farm, they were "made" to help their friends with their chores which included cutting the chicken's heads off. To this day, it bothers my adult daughter. Great blog by the way!

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    1. Thanks Carol. I could never do it either, as stated above. I would probably have nightmares.

      Sunni

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  7. Even my grandmother kept chickens,though not a farm,she had about 10-12 kept in coops and as a child I remember collecting eggs...
    Such lovely memories Sunni...

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    1. Sitara,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I'm glad I made you think of your own childhood.

      Sunni

      Delete
  8. I cannot look at a Chicken being culled is it? It's sad...But I do love eating my chicken though..I could see vividly what you have written here...Good going :)

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    1. Nabanita,

      If it was up to me to kill the chicken, we'd have veggies instead. :)

      Sunni

      Delete
  9. We raised chickens when we lived down south and prepped them ourselves for cooking, canning and freezing. Ringing their necks and chopping their heads off wasn't as freaky to me as going out to gather eggs and have snakes curl down from the rafters of the chicken house! - Great post. Happy A to Z!

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    1. Hi Magical,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I agree that snakes would have been worse. We never did find any in the chicken house, but we did run upon a fox once. I'll check out your blog.

      Sunni

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  10. I come from a long line of urbanites, so this is all new and interesting to me. Only chickens I've seen are in the meat section of the grocery store. :) Nice to meet you, Sunni. Good luck with the challenge.
    The Doglady's Den

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    1. Debbie,

      Thanks for stopping by. I suppose this would be new to someone raised in the city. Good luck to you too. I'll check out your blog.

      Sunni

      Delete
  11. This one took me to my native place... my grandparents home... where they had a hen farm, cattles and veg garden.. :) Nice post! :)

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    1. Sheethal,

      Thank you. Glad I could take you back to your childhood.

      Sunni

      Delete
  12. I can't imagine being without scrambled eggs! Life on a farm? I almost wish I could live that way. I am from New York City. Can you imagine? I live in Pennsylvania now and am surrounded by farms. I love the open air. I love how they, too, waste nothing and have so much pride for the "toil of their hands".

    Now I want scrambled eggs. -_-

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    1. Cristina,

      I hope you get your scrambled eggs. :) I can hardly stand them to this day unless they're doctored up with goodies. I always wanted to live in the city when I was a kid.

      Sunni

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  13. Life on a farm is fun even if the life style is a simple one. Loved the part about your mother cutting the chicken, I can cut a fish from start to finish but not a chicken.
    Eggs are my favorite food, in any form.
    Sunday or Monday have an egg everyday;)
    www.inderpreetkaur.blogspot.in

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    1. Inderpreet,

      I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I wish I could filet a fish better than I can.

      Sunni

      Delete
  14. Reading your post I can see how adventurous your life on the farm must have been. I can't imagine chopping off a hen's neck, ever, living on the farm makes you tougher, I guess. Collecting eggs sounds like a fun thing to do :)

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    1. Sulekkha,

      You had to be tough to survive those times because it was 'bare bones' living. People did what they had to do to survive. Collecting eggs was a delicate job I wasn't very good at.

      Sunni

      Delete
  15. 200 chickens! That must be a lot of noise too :D sounds like a fun place to be in :)

    Richa

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    1. Richa,

      You made me laugh thinking about all the squawking going on. That along with 42 cats, a few dogs, and 7 kids didn't make for too many dull moments.

      Sunni

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    2. Haha That is a life indeed without a dull moment, with no dull silence around and so much to enjoy!!! :)

      Delete
  16. Ah, this reminded me of my native place, which had a small farm full of chickens. We also had a cow shed where we had cow for milk. Those were much simpler days! Loved your post which took me back to those happy days :)

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    1. Prasanna,

      I'm glad I could take you back to simple, happy days. We had cows too and my grandmother boiled the milk and bottled it. We made butter from the cream.

      Sunni

      Delete
  17. So much fun!! Lovely post, quite adventurous life eh? :)

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    1. Aditi,

      Thank you so much. I'm glad you enjoyed it. At the time, we didn't think it was real adventurous. But looking back on it, it wasn't all that bad.

      Sunni

      Delete
  18. Though I didn't grow up on a farm, I can relate very much to this. When we were in our village and I was still a kid, we had hens and cows. Mom would raise chickens. I remember her hitting the hens for a meal. Whenever we had guests, that was the ritual. I am a vegetarian though now.

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    1. Hi Folsom,

      Happy you could relate. I'm glad we kids didn't have to kill the chickens. I think I would have been a vegetarian too if that was the case.

      Sunni

      Delete
  19. Loved reading about your memories of farm life and the chickens. I wouldn't blame you for not loving eggs after that. LOL! Cute cats you have up there in your banner. I, too, love cats and wrote about being a crazy cat lady for today's post. I hope I get to hear about your kitties.

    Cat

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    1. Hi cat,

      Thanks for reading. I LOVE cats as you can see. I'll be by your blog to read your cat stories. Most of mine for this challenge will be about farm life as a kid. Most of the time, I post cat stories here otherwise.

      Sunni

      Delete
  20. That's a lot of chickens to have around. I eat a egg just about every day, but if I were eating them like you were as a child then I'm sure I'd get kind of sick of them too.

    Lee
    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

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    1. Lee,

      That is a lot of chickens. We had to eat what we had on hand and lots of times that was scrambled eggs.

      Sunni

      Delete
  21. That's a ton of chickens! Chickens always freaked me out a bit as a kid. Maybe that's why I was a vegetarian for quite a few years! *LOL*

    Visiting for the Untethered Realms group for the A to Z Challenge.

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    1. Christine,

      You get used to all the chickens after a while. You have to wade through groups of them all the time as they peck around and squawk. The bulls is what I was afraid of. When one of those got out of the pasture, look out!

      Sunni

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  22. Having always lived in the city this is something I never experienced. But your memories make it all very real Sunni. Great post :-)

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  23. Dr Gauri,

    I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I always wanted to live in the city growing up.

    Sunni

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  24. You wrote nicely, recapping your fond memories of your childhood days. Mamaw appeared to play a strong role in your upbringing from what I've read. httt://www.writer-way.blogspot.com

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    1. Michele,

      Yes, we called both our grandmothers Mamaw, but this one was my dad's mother. She lived on the farm with us, so we saw her daily growing up. I'll visit your blog. Thanks for reading.

      Sunni

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  25. Wow thus is quite amazing. My mother's sister had a small farm worth ducks and hens. It must we a very different life. Loved the way you have narrated your story.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment Rajlakshmi. Growing up on a farm is a different way of life than almost everyone lives in the times we have today. I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

      Sunni

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  26. I thought of my grandmother, while reading your post, she was very fond of hens and the chicks, remembered my childhood. Now we don't get to see them at my place.. thanks for sharing !

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    1. G,

      I'm glad you liked my post and it brought back happy memories.

      Sunni

      Delete
  27. My grandfather used to have chickens. The little chicks were so cute - all yellow and downy.

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    1. Suzy,

      We loved the little chicks and would feed them scratch and ground up corn.

      Sunni

      Delete
  28. 1500 chickens, no kidding! My grandma still keeps them, and ducks and cows and goats!

    Damyanti Co-host, A to Z Challenge 2014, Latest Post

    Twitter: @damyantig
    #atozchallenge

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    1. Damyanti,

      I'm sure my grandmother would still have chickens too if she was still alive. She ws quite the farm woman.

      Sunni

      Delete
  29. Sunni, that's quite an adventurous life you've had on the farm. Being a city girl, my only experience with life on farms is through Enid Blyton's books. ;) But you're living the real deal - it's such an interesting idea to chronicle those experiences.

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    1. Ovengoodies,

      You should hear me and all my sisters when we get at it (usually over the phone because we live in different states now) and reminisce about the farm and childhood. I wrote a family book with stories and some old recipes and pictures last year and gave them each a copy.

      Sunni

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  30. My younger sister in law raises chickens for meat and eggs and has around 400 -600 chickens at any given time, some of them ready for slaughter and some of them still young. She sells most of the eggs though, so we get eggs for our houses but not too much. Eggs are still one of my favourite foods. Damaria at http://foodgardeningsa.blogspot.com

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    1. Damaria,

      My grandmother used to sell eggs too and usually had a stack of flats several feet high in her kitchen.

      Sunni

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  31. Quite adventurous and interesting.....
    'Chicken run"

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    1. Shelly,

      I'm glad you enjoyed my post.

      Sunni

      Delete
  32. Oh how fun and interesting to read about your experiences on a farm, this is something I know nothing about as I've always lived in the city. I just love animals and love your cats! Thanks so much for visiting the Untethered Realms blog, I'm so glad to meet you and discover your blog as a result. Looking forward to following and reading more.

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  33. Thank you Julie,

    I love cats and usually post cat stories here but am doing childhood farm stoires for the A to Z this year. You have a very interesting blog. I like learning new things I've never heard about. Glad to meet you to. I'll be back to read more of your posts.

    Sunni

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  34. I grew up part of my life on a farm, but it was the neighbors who had chickens. We had pigs (which we ended up keeping as pets, and stopped eating pork), and lots of horses. Those were some of the best times in my life. And I loved the neighbor's chickens! :)

    Random Musings from the KristenHead — C is for 'Copper' and Cats (and More Cats)

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    1. Kristen,

      Thanks for stopping by and reading. I have to check out more of your posts for the A to Z,

      Of course growing up on a farm was the last place we wanted to be as kids, but looking back on it, it wasn't that bad.

      Delete

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Sunni