Back again in my boyhood days, the chicken household was a centre of exercise in The Brim Hollow. It was actually 1 setting up that accommodated two unique houses — the hen dwelling and the hen dwelling. Rectangular in form, it highlighted a dividing wall in its heart with wood flooring. The entrance of the building was boarded half-way to the roof. Rooster wire coated the massive home windows. In the wintertime, hefty, black paper was tacked up to continue to keep out the chilly.
A path led from the facet door of the Brim property put, earlier the smokehouse, over a two-log foot-bridge that crossed the department, and ended at the methods of the hen house.
Because it was constructed on a slope, the ground was at the very least four toes earlier mentioned ground stage on the hen household aspect. It took two massive actions to get up into the henhouse. It was, of study course, geared up with a maze of roosting poles that ran perpendicular to the entrance. At dusk, when the hens went to roost, we shut the hen household doorway for the night time.
Just to the right of the hen residence door, a row of laying nests was attached to the outside wall. Covered with a narrow tin roof, it was situated about 4 feet higher than the ground. In my more youthful times, I was not tall adequate to peer into the nests when gathering the eggs, and I was not brave more than enough to attain into each and every nest and “feel” for eggs. (Hen snakes were recognised to crawl into nests often.) So, I took along a wood box on which to stand. (Better to be risk-free, than sorry!)
During the working day the hens were comparatively safe and sound from predators. Their range one particular enemies were pink-tailed hawks (my grandfather termed them hen hawks).
He stated a hen hawk could carry off a hen in a moment. He also reported a hen hawk would get a little one goat.
I vividly recall the sight of a hens ducking and functioning for address when the shadow of a hawk swept silently across the floor.
The hens almost never ventured earlier the tree line up into the hollow. My grandfather hung hub caps and aluminum pie pans in the very low hanging tree limbs to scare absent the hawks.
The other section of the chicken home was employed for starting and escalating frying chickens. I helped my grandmother get started a number of batches of chicks in my more youthful times. In some a long time we gathered up the recently hatched chicks from the settin’ hens. I recall a few decades when we procured chicks from the feed retail store. I specifically don’t forget the purple medication my grandmother place in the hen h2o. She would fill up a fifty percent-gallon mason jar with h2o and add the purple drugs. Then she would set a glass waterer on leading of the jar and promptly switch it upside down. As a boy, I never ever could determine out why that purple water didn’t operate out of the mason jar on its very own. But it didn’t.
These chicks would stroll up to it, take a consume, and level their beaks to the sky.
The chicks had been fed rooster scratch (floor shelled corn) and Purina Groweena (I thinks that is what it was referred to as), and they grew like they were shot out of a gun. At the time they were being off to a fantastic start out, they have been allowed to go away the rooster home by a smaller doorway in the again. At night they returned and the door was shut restricted.
In a couple limited weeks some of the chicks started to improve thick, pink combs. That wasn’t fantastic …. for the chick. That meant they were boys and they were headed for the frying pan. Some of the pullets fulfilled a similar destiny. A couple of of the ideal had been held to develop into layers.
My grandmother, who stood all of 5 foot-2, could not only ring the neck of a chicken she could pluck and clean a chicken. I constantly manufactured myself scarce when she was plucking and cleaning.
I shall never overlook the scent of scalded feathers or the sight of rooster entrails in the dish pan.
And my Granny Lena could cook fried rooster with the greatest of them.
In the present day age that led to sophisticated strain cookers and mystery recipes, Granny Lena could have taken a wood cook stove, a black iron skillet, a tiny lard and a farm-raised rooster and specified Colonel Harland Sanders a operate for his cash.