Saturday, April 3, 2021

C ~ Chickens

     Feeding the chickens and gathering eggs used to be one of my favorite things to do as a child.
    Mom would save stale bread and choice food scraps for us to feed them, but my favorite of all was feeding them wild grapes from the vines that twisted their way up the trees behind the barn. 
They were much too tangy for us to eat, but the chickens viewed them as the best treat.                                
    I would hold the corners of my apron while John and David would scramble up the tree to retrieve those tiny grapes and drop them down to me. Once we had what we deemed as a sufficient amount we'd run to the chicken pen and stand outside the fence. One by one we would throw the grapes in and watch the chickens race to get to it.
    Mom didn't want us to feed them too many in one day, so after we fed them everything we had harvested we'd find something else to do and leave the chickens to their regular food.
    I often wondered why we couldn't feed them as much as we wanted to, but then one year the neighbors cows got into a lot of ramps (spring onions/garlic) and it made their milk taste garlicky. They couldn't sell garlic flavored milk and asked us if we want it. We took a lot of it. Mom saved the cream and we fed the rest to our pigs and our calf.
    Once the butter was made we tried eating it, but the over powering garlic flavor proved to be too much. John and I were sent to feed it to the pigs, but we detoured and fed it to the chickens instead. They seemed super excited and pecked away at it until they had it cleaned up.
    We didn't tell Mom we opted to feed the chickens instead of the pigs, but then several days later the breakfast eggs tasted oddly of garlic. Mom was mystified until we told her we had fed the chickens all that garlicky butter.
    After that I understood why Mom didn't want us to feed an abundance of those tangy wild grapes to the chickens at one time.


  1. Oh the lessons we learn along life's path!

  2. That is such a great childhood memory! As a child, one of my favorite tasks was helping my Grammy feed the chickens and gather eggs.

  3. Isn't it interesting how what animals eat makes such a difference? I read a book about a pig farmer who fed crawdads to his pigs because they were so abundant in the nearby creek. But then he sold the pigs to markets in another state so the resulting salty pork wouldn't make it back to him.

  4. WE used to get fresh milk from a local farmer, and sometimes it would taste - fairly strongly - of garlic. My sister and I didn't like it at all, but Mum would taste it and swear with a straight face that it tasted fine.

  5. Makes sense, but I can see why you wouldn't think about that as a child.


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