Chicken Chores

(Summer of 1952 on the Oak Grove Ridge Scheckel farm)

We all had chores. Phillip was responsible for the pigs. Bob tended the cattle. I took care of the chickens. Of course, there was a lot of overlap. If one of us were sick, hurt, or at some sporting event, the other two had to cover.

I fed the chickens oyster shells that Dad bought in 50-pound bags. It was intended to make the eggshells stronger. I fed it to the pullets in the brooding house when they started to lay eggs. Oyster shells were not mixed in with the feed, but kept in a separate container.

Regular feed was a combination of cracked corn, wheat, and ground oats. Chicken feed was stored in the granary and had to be hauled to the chicken coop. From the granary, over the gravel driveway, through the gate that kept the chickens out of the yard, across the green lawn in front of the house, pass the garden, through another gate, and a final few feet to the chicken coop. The distance was only 200 feet, but when you’re small and weigh about 80 pounds, carrying pails of feed or water was a big chore. It had to be done. Complaining was useless. In the summer I walked barefoot and dodged the chicken manure in the chicken coop area. Well, most of the time!



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