Chicken talk… Memories of chickens.
My parents kept about 300 chickens for eggs when I was about 10. They came as pullets and gradually grew till they were old enough to lay eggs. The idea being that it would provide a bit of extra income for Life’s journey. Mum and dad were and had to be very resourceful. They did not have access to a Livestock Batchelors Degree online.
There was always work to be done, especially the preparation stage in building the fences and shelters. If a chicken was sick it had to be made better quickly or butchered so it was not just eating the whole wheat grain. (This bit was hard as a child to comprehend) The end product had to be eggs for money.
I don’t recall how dad got the chickens to the place we were renting in the rural Adelaide Hills as we had no car. But do remember dad taking the stacked up big trays of eggs on the back of his motor bike. Well tied on.
It was not very far to the railway station but it was hilly and I don’t think he ever lost any!…. Money was precious and had to s-t-r-e-t-c-h. Being frugal before the word was fashionable.
We had no fridge in those days so foods that spoiled were purchased as needed and stored in a small room downstairs which was quite cold. Our fresh milk came daily delivered by the milkman who measured and poured it into our billy can which hung over the gate post and was brought in by us to be boiled and the cream separated. THAT was the best…..to be had on toast with jam….either butter and jam or jam and cream , and not all three together. Today I am too spoilt as I do love all three together.
Once dad had been working for a while at GMH …Holden’s for short, he was able to purchase a Fridge for us, so we didn’t need to scald the milk any more. Compare this to how we take it so for granted that everyone has a fridge . And it’s needed straight away as soon as a household is set up!
…but I digress from chickens. When dad had to butcher chickens, most parts were used even the unshelled eggs which were inside the butchered carcasses and because we had no fridge for a time mum had to use them up quickly.
She baked or made custards or Spetzler which are like small dropped by spoonfuls dough and cooked in boiling water. These were then added to scrambled eggs. Very sustaining and I can still taste them especially if we had a bit of bacon added to the dish. All these frugal dishes are now classed as a bit gourmet.
…to the everyday person having chickens has a romantic, green, frugal lifestyle feel to it but there’s so much more.
Are you permitted to keep them in your suburban yard.
Are you rural
Is your yard layout suitable.
If you have pets will everyone get on together safely without a huge amount of effort on your part.
Do you know enough about keeping hens…or are you prepared to learn about them.
Have you easy access to their required food needs.
Do you know which hens are the best layers.
Which hens are the most children friendly.
Are you going to free range the hens.
Can you keep your hens safe from predators
How many hens for your yard
Have you enough time to care for your flock
Do you go away often, if so, who can care for your flock
What about shelters and laying boxes for them
Or are you going to use a chicken tractor…
I have collated some photos below which show a story about chickens or hens and their needs. They love freshly foraged greens and love a morsel in the shape of a snail of worm. Watch out if you have bare feet though because your toes look like worms and hens DO peck very hard!
Dried and green foods.
Access to fresh water.
Space to roam.
Free from predators.
So a little chicken talk turned into a story, which goes to show how much is involved if one chooses to keep these feathered friends.
As with everything in life we need to investigate, learn and prepare …and learn some more. Life can be an adventure….
I love chickens and wish I could answer positively to all your questions, Alexa!! But then I get real!!
A very interesting story of your childhood and chickens!
Yes Lis, as we get older we get real….It was interesting thinking back on some of the family happenings and being thankful for the many and varied experiences.
We have chickens and the kids love them, it teaches them so much, especially how to care for things and that things do die. We have lost a few in the past year from many different causes but it teaches children how the circle of life works. One lesson we have learnt (though not done anything about) is that chickens without a pen will lay eggs anywhere, real eggs hunts:)
Hi Hannah, thank you for your comment. What you say is so true …and I LOVE your description of egg hunts. Lots of fun. x