Thursday, May 20, 2010

Salt Licks and Baby Chicks

Now that it looks like Spring has possibly "Sprung"...

One of the...ok, THE most fun thing for a kid on the farm was driving over to Preston in the Spring with Mother and returning home in the back seat with a box or two of the cutest little creatures ever, baby chicks. The box had big holes in it and you could watch their tiny fuzzy bodies wiggling all over as they were chirping their little peeping noises. There must have been a hundred or more in a box, and what an exciting time that was! (This is when the children offer to take care of ALL the work involved, forever.) We would take them home and turn them loose in a section of the chicken coop under a big ceiling light that simulated Mother Chicken. They huddled together in a big mass and sounded like a Jr. Tabernacle Chick Choir; a literal visual of "How often I would have gathered you like a mother chicken under her wings..." There were little boxes with feed holes in them and the cutest metal upside-down-like cans with a little trough at the bottom where the water settled, refilling itself when needed. (I've seen little candy dishes out of that style.) The poor little ones didn't know how to drink water, so we got to hold them in our hands and dip their little beaks in water, then turn their heads back so a few drops went down their throats til they got the idea. Oh, they were so so cute I almost wanted to be a baby chicken! After a few weeks, their feathers turned from soft down into harder feathers, and they weren't so appealing. By the time they were a year or more, they seemed like a lot more work than fun. I never did like the chicken harvest and to this day don't have much taste for chicken. I wrote a poem about them literally running around without their heads, which they seriously do, but won't include it here.

Another spring thing was setting out salt licks for the cows. I thought that was weird, but knew it was important. It was amazing to see a salt lick half gone and wonder how many thousand swipes of the tongue that took. There were brown ones and it seems like some greyish or white ones, no clue why.

Springtime on the farm, not a bad time at all.

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