We had a number of old buildings on our farm. We had an old chicken coop and a little brooder house. The brooder house was a place where the cute little fluffy yellow chicks went to stay warm and dry under the lights until the weather warmed up enough for them to be outside. We used to clean out the brooder house and use it as a playhouse after the chicks were outside.
The laying hens were in the chicken coop, it was a small building with laying boxes on the walls and ramps that made their way up to the boxes. The ramps were made out of lumber, and each ramp had small lengths of wood tacked horizontally onto the surface, so the chickens wouldn’t slip. These ramps were brushed off with a wire brush occasionally, sometimes we would take them out and hose them off in the summertime. Our chicken coop had a fenced yard, there were little doors that we opened in the morning and closed at night, little chicken sized doors. The chickens could come and go as they pleased during the day. I hated cleaning out the water thingy…it was a strange two part galvanized waterer one part fit over the part with the water in it, you had to carry it outside and clean it all out because chickens are messy and then fill it with water. My Mom was in charge of feeding them.
I was in charge of gathering eggs, you had to be quick..and learn not to hesitate or they would peck you in the arm. One small hesitation and those hens would nail ya. I helped with the cleaning of the eggs, we used soft white rags made out of diapers to wash them. It was a job that you wanted to stay on top of, because the longer that chicken poop stayed on the eggs the harder you had to scrub…and if you scrubbed too hard..you broke the doggone egg. We put the eggs in a funny colored purple tray, I think it held about 36 eggs.
We sold eggs to the neighbors. I do not remember exactly how much they were for a dozen, (35 cents a dozen rings a bell.) The little old ladies would drive into the yard, hop out of the car with their egg cartons in their hand, we would fill them up, collect the money and carry the eggs to their car. It was on one of these days back in about 1965 that I first met Far Guys Grandparents H. I grew up kitty corner from his Grandparents A. so I had known them forever. Grandpa H. always drove Grandma H. and she always wore a dress. Grandpa H. never got out of the car.
My Grandparents D (My Moms parents) had a real egg operation going on at their place, I can still see my Grandfather, dressed in his bib overhauls with his blue and white train engineers cap on, sitting on the enclosed porch in a chair, washing eggs and putting them into crates, often times I would help him. He would tell me stories, some I remember… some I wish I had written down.
Our chickens weren’t the fancy kind, they were just plain old white chickens. Some of them laid brown eggs..my favorite. What I didn’t like about chickens…you had to constantly watch where you walked, especially in the summertime when I was barefooted.
The first time I sent Far Guy to the chicken coop to get the eggs, he got them just fine, and reported back to me that he had picked up all the eggs. I had to laugh at him, and explained to the "City Boy" that it was called "Gathering." He replied "Whatever you call it, It is done."
Who was the first person to say "See that chicken… I am gonna eat the next thing that comes out of it’s butt?"