Behind our barn we had a little white building. Every June we would take a day and clean it up nicely and take numerous wheelbarrow loads of wood shavings and spread them over the floor. We would check our kerosene heaters to make sure they worked properly and once everything was ready we would wait impatiently for the mailman to deliver several packages.
A few days later he would drive into the lane. As Mom or Daddy went out to see what he wanted we children would watch hopefully. As several large boxes appeared we could hear the noise of a hundred baby chicks peeping.
As the mailman left we would all hurry to the building we had readied for the chicks. We children would crowd around the boxes as Daddy and Mom opened them and helped them carefully lift the chicks and place them beside the feeders that had been filled with baby chick food. I loved baby chicks, they felt so soft and fluffy and watching a hundred of them run over the floor and eat their feed and drink their water made me wish I could stay with them all day.
Daddy would check the thermometer to make sure it was almost ninety degrees and then herd us back outside. As we resumed our work and play I looked forward to chore-time when I could once again hold a few chicks. It didn't take them long to lose their cute yellow fluffiness and turn into awkward chicks half fluffy and half feathered and as they grew so did their appetite. It was John and my job to keep their water cans filled and they had to be checked every few hours. As they grew to fully white feathered broilers I looked forward to the day when I could do something other than tote water for the ever increasingly thirsty broilers.
Between eight and ten weeks they were full grown and a butchering day was planned. Aunt Emma would come to help Mom do the butchering. I never could watch Daddy take them one by one to the chopping block, but once that part was over John, David and I would have to defeather them and take them inside to Mom and Emma where they would hurry and butcher them before we brought another batch in.
It was a long day but at the end when row after row of jars of chicken meat were lined up on the shelves in the basement I looked forward to many good meals. There is nothing quite as good as homegrown chicken meat.