Children and chickens are a natural match.

Children with
“Golden Hen.”

I’m not sure where it came from but somehow I became fascinated with chickens. I was eight years old living in suburban New Jersey, didn’t know anyone who had chickens, and no one in my family had ever had them. The interest came on strong 58 years ago and I’m still at it.

Dad and Mom were supportive and, I think, saw chickens as a way to learn. “Let’s build a coop and get a few,” Dad said, and soon he and I were building a chicken house just big enough to hold four hens. It was an education in basic carpentry. I bought four hens from Mr. Lawrence, the local egg man in an era when eggs, milk, and bread were delivered to the door.

The hens were my pride and joy.  What I brought into the kitchen weren’t just eggs. They were brown jewels. Sometimes I’d just watch the hens after school and learned they are intelligent, communicate with each other through various calls, and are clean and odorless. They taught me that if I cared for animals humanely I’d receive an education, entertainment, and delicious food.

Chickens are part of our lives at Winding Pathways, and they continue to amaze Marion and me with their intelligence, comical antics, curiosity, and amazing ability to convert weeds, kitchen scraps, and insects into the jewels we bring into our kitchen.

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