Gut Rumbles

October 18, 2003

more on chickens

Let me tell you how I became a chicken-farmer. I had Foghorn and two wore-out hens that came with the mini-farm in the coop. I also had about 10 free-range chickens that ran around the place, shit where they wanted and screwed when they pleased until we got Jingles, the Death-Dog, who killed and ate every one of them.

My favorite free-range chicken was one I named "Lonesome George" because he always stayed off by himself. The other chickens picked on him when I went out to feed them. I felt sorry for George. He was a geek chicken.

Jingles started picking off the chickens one by one and slathering guts and feathers all over the yard when she was six months old. That goddam dog was completely feral and no amount of ass-whippin' was going to cure her. I just got used to burying half-eaten chickens and listening to the BC excuse the dog's behavior. "She's just a puppy!" Lonesome George was the last to go because he stayed off by himself all the time.

But he made a fatal mistake one day. He wandered into the yard as he crowed for a handout. All the competition was gone by then, and he wanted me to feed him some corn. Jingles spotted George and took off at a gallop. George RAN, the dumbfuck! I never understood that.

George slept in a tree every night. He FLEW up to his roost. Did he fly when Jingles was after his ass? NO! He tried to outrun a dog that could outrun most greyhounds. I was on the back porch yelling, "Fly, George! Fly!" and the birdbrain just kept running until Jingles caught him and ate most of him.

I beat the shit out of Jingles, but she never paid any attention to that. The dog was feral. I buried what was left of George in the back yard, then ordered 48 biddies from a chicken catalogue. Yes, you can buy Mail Order Chickens.

The BC and I picked them out and we really didn't have much of a yardstick to go by. We wanted some "Easter Egg" hens, which lay pastel blue eggs. She wanted some Vietnamese "Mop-Top" chickens just because she thought that they were unique. I wanted a couple of bantam roosters just because they are little and mean, like me. We checked off the proper blocks, sent off a check and waited.

One week later, I was watching the news on television one Saturday morning when the phone rang. A woman in total panic called from the Effingham County Post Office to alert me that my chickens had arrived. She explained that she got off work at noon that day and she was terrified that the chickens would die if I didn't pick them up right away. I had no idea where the Effingham County Post Office was. I asked if she also had a delivery for Susan LaFave. She did.

So, I called Sue. "Sue, our chickens are at the Post Office. Can YOU go pick them up? That lady down there is kinda insistent." Sue took off down the dirt road in her SUV and was back in about 45 minutes. We had ordered from the same catalogue.

I had 48 little, chirping biddies with their heads poking out of a cardboard chicken-holder. They smelled richly of chickenshit. How they were shipped from where they came from all the way to me is a mystery I'll never solve. But I had them, all alive.

The BC and I kept the biddies in a spare room under a sunlamp until the stench they created was too powerful to handle. We had to move them outside.

I walled off a section of the chicken coop with fine-mesh wire and put the little shits in there. That worked well for a couple of weeks until the dumbfucks learned to fly. The foolish ones would go over the wire and into the coop, where Foghorn waited to murder them, or they would go over the wire and out of the fence, where Jingles waited to murder them. I lost 10 chickens to such kamikaze dumbassery.

I ended up with 28 hens, four roosters and a lot of dead chickens.

What the hell. You can buy a biddy for less than a dollar. I got a lot of fresh eggs out of the deal and I became accustomed to the sound of crowing in the morning. Everybody should raise chickens at least once in life.

You'll learn why chickens are called "bird-brains."


You also learn why "stinks like chickenshit" is such an insult.

Posted by: Kim du Toit on October 18, 2003 04:35 PM

Pop worked at Sears, Roebuck in Lexington, Ky (the state not the jelly) in the 40's. When Mom went shopping downtown, she'd leave me with him. They always had chicks in the farm department, some of em in those boxes you described. Used to have em in their catalog back in them there days, too, but they never let me get any as much as i wanted to.

Whenever we wanted chicken for dinner, Mom would call across the fence to Mr McCann. He'd pick out a couple, grab em by the head, snap their necks and hand em to Mom. She did all the plucking. He had a never-ending supply of chickens right in the middle of a residential neighborhood. I heard all the bells, sirens and whistles that signalled V-E day while we watched him do that one day in 1945. We moved from there when I was about 9. Thanks for helping me recall a very fond memory.

Posted by: Larry on October 18, 2003 05:34 PM

I raised Bantys. They are small, but they are survivors.

Posted by: Jim Thomas on October 18, 2003 05:59 PM

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, I lived in West Virginia. We had a bunch of chickens -- nothing fancy. Purely for the purpose of fresh eggs. I can say with authority that the only thing that will stop a chicken-killing dog (and it doesn't always work -- some of them ENJOY it too much) is to immediately get the warm body and tie it around the dog's neck. It is advisable to put the corspe in a burlap sack or something like that for maximum effectiveness. Make the dog wear it until it rots off his neck -- they will either be so miserable that they will never go near a chicken again, or enjoy it so much that they will bring you a body fairly often. Obviously the dog cannot come in while this is going on . . .

Posted by: Anne on October 18, 2003 06:21 PM

A city girl can learn so much here...

Posted by: Juliette on October 18, 2003 07:00 PM

I live in the chicken capitol of the world,Springdale,Arkansas and actually laughed myself silly when I was on my way home one evening and had to wait for the chickens to cross the road on a busy street.My step-Mom has chickens and I always get fresh eggs when I go see my Dad. There's nothing like fresh eggs. My Mom also has chickens in her mountain retreat. She has a skylight over her bed in the cabin and when I spend the night there I am awakened by the rooster crowing. It perches in a limb near the skylight. Oh and what a story I could tell you about my college days when I got drunk in a manic state and found my self in Bimini with the Tyson magnate.It's actually a very scary story and I'm lucky I never ran into him again. Someone's watching over me.

Posted by: Rapunzel on October 18, 2003 07:36 PM

Acidman, don't you mean "Moron Chickens"? Oh wait, then it would be a post about the French!

Bantys are cool and cute, but they escape too easily in my experience, and then the local foxes don't have to work as hard to eat.

We had them meanest rooster when I was a kid. I was afraid of him, and one time he attacked my brother, 6 years younger than me, and pecked a bloody spot into the back of my brother's head, requiring a run to the doctor's office.

Posted by: Jay Solo on October 18, 2003 07:39 PM

Hoo-eee is chickens some dumb damn animals. Or birds. Whatever.


Damn dumb as they be, they will always and forever be brighter than the peckernecks in PETA.

Posted by: Eichra Oren on October 18, 2003 08:28 PM

Turkeys are even dumber than chickens. When they get scared, they all pile up in a corner of the coop/barn/ whatever and smother each other.

Posted by: Larry on October 18, 2003 09:08 PM

We had a few chickens when I was a little girl. I used to go with mom to collect eggs. We also had one of those dog damn Bantham roosters. I hated that little shit. I can remember having a special broom for protection. It sat at the back steps and I kept it with me everytime I went outside to play for protection against his evil spurs.

I had forgotten how much I hated that rooster.

Posted by: medicmom on October 19, 2003 01:48 AM

About 15 years ago, we lived in a city (which shall be nameless), next door to a family that kept chickens. Their rooster crowed all damn night long. Of course the poor thing was only doing what G-d created him for. Anyway, I never wished him any harm. I kept threatening to get a gun and shoot out the damn street light on the corner, which was what was keeping him awake. I never had the guts to do it, though.

Posted by: Jaydee on October 19, 2003 06:23 PM

Cool article!!!

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