Some of us older people, who grew up on farms or in rural environments, are following the latest about the renewed interest in raising chickens.

While baby chicks are cute (and so are baby pigs), these animals grow quickly and I’m not sure the suburbs and city are the place for farm animals.

In some towns, the zoning has been altered to accommodate “having a few chickens” and I think I read somewhere that one town wouldn’t allow roosters. I suppose they’re too noisy and wouldn’t comply with the town ordinance. (I’ve never understood why people who, by their own choice, live in a “farm” district complain about the noise of chickens, dogs and cows – all normal farm district dwellers.)

I can vaguely remember the henhouse and surrounding fenced in chicken yard, which was located way in back of our house in Windham, where I grew up. One of the chores we had as youngsters was feeding the chickens and gathering the eggs. This was not something we anticipated, especially in the summertime, when the aroma was quite pungent. It was one of those childhood chores that got traded for some more mundane job like gathering clothes off the clothesline or washing dishes.

Then there was the fate of chickens when they stopped laying eggs – they don’t lay eggs forever, you know. In days gone by, the farmer or owner could easily dispatch the chickens in the back yard. Today I imagine that chicken owners will have to find a different method of disposing of over-the-hill hens. Once you’ve plucked the feathers and cleaned a chicken, you really appreciate the pre-packaged, sanitary poultry found on the supermarket shelves.

While some folks want to raise chickens and recapture the days gone by, others are shunning the most natural of elements – the great outdoors. It’s hard to believe, but I know it’s true, that there are many, many children who don’t go outside to play unless it’s in a specially constructed facility, with a clean (?) tarred-over playground. Just playing in the woods or fields is actually frightening to them – thanks, no doubt, to the attitude of the parents.

Nature is suspect. They carry around their own bottled water and would never drink from a brook – if they could even find one. I feel sorry for this segment of the younger generation who will never dig up worms and go fishing. They won’t muck around in puddles and catch polliwogs or watch the caterpillar make it’s cocoon – too icky, I heard one mom say to her 2-year-old – and an additional warning: You might catch something!

Like many senior citizens, my perspective on raising chickens and enjoying the great outdoors is based only on experience and history.


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