A Chicken Story

My very first encounter with chickens happened when I was two years old and sent out to get the eggs from a setting hen. At the time we were renting a house in Houston near Love Elementary School and the chickens were part of the rental deal. It took every bit of my courage to reach out to find the egg under the chicken but as soon as I reached out the big fat hen gave me the hardest peck on my hand. I ran in crying—my feelings were crushed.

My love for chickens started with an Easter chick bought at the 5 & 10 cent store when I was four years old. By holding the chick upside down by his feet you could tell if it was a boy or a girl by the way it hung its head. If it pulled it's head up it was a boy, if it just hung down straight it was a girl. The one I picked was dyed a bright green and was a boy chick. It was so soft and sweet I could barely stand it and of course I wanted to hold it so tight with love.

Unfortunately, this chick died of cocksideous. My mother had carried him around in her bathrobe pocket before he got sick. I was amazed and shocked when she cut the pocket off the bathrobe and said we could send him to heaven in it. We then put it in a large matchbox and buried him in the backyard with a small cross made of two sticks.

 

My third encounter when I was nine was with two baby Easter chicks purchased from the 5 & 10 cent store. This time I was determined to raise them and obtain eggs every day. As it turned out, I had a rooster and a hen. The hen turned out sweet and docile but the rooster became meaner by the day. Every day my sister and I tried to enter the backyard he would come running at us and we were frightened to death. It was our job to hang out the clothes once a week to dry as we did not have an electric dryer indoors. We could barely do that without him chasing us. Meanwhile, the docile little hen was laying one egg a day in the corner of the flower bed in a small nest she had made. My father came to the rescue and tried to catch the rooster to no avail, but he knew a man that raised chickens that would come get the rooster. The man showed us how to shake your hand at the rooster to get his attention, then he just snatched that old rooster up by the feet and off he went. I don't remember what happened to the hen but I did accomplish my goal of getting eggs.

© 2019 Charlie Jean Sartwelle