Raising Chickens 1952

Summer 1952 on the Scheckel farm. We had a corn sheller powered by the Massey Harris ’44 tractor, stored and mounted in the small barn. We also had our own hammer mill powered by the Massey Harris ’44. The shelled corn was shoveled into the hammer mill. A rapid rotating series of blades broke up the shelled corn into smaller pieces. The size of ground pieces was determined by the screen inserted into the hammer mill.

It was my job to keep the chickens’ water jar filled. Water had to be carried from the cow tank near the big barn, across the expanse of the corn crib, past the lower end of the garden, and into the chicken coop. That added another 200 feet to my trek, and it often seemed a lot longer.

The young chicks grew fast. The yellow down feathers disappeared and the birds took on a white color as the permanent feathers developed. After several weeks, the heat lamps could be turned off as the chicks got bigger and the weather turned warmer.

We had to debeak our laying hens to prevent the bullies from pecking the weaker chicks. Yes, indeed, that’s where the term “pecking order” comes from. We cut off just the tip of the upper beak with either a sharp knife or a machine that burned the end of the upper beak.


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