It is the year of the Rooster and this is the week Ray and Ann Barefoot of the Midway community are adding one to their own brood.
Ann Barefoot shared that her husband was listening to WCLN’s Old Country Store recently when he heard that someone had all of their chickens, fence and post for sale. He decided it was time to start his backyard flock and have fresh eggs, she said.
Barefoot’s mother, she said, raised chickens for a hatchery when he was a young boy. That, alone, was enough reason for him to have his own. So in the early fall of 2016, the Barefoots started the hobby; today, they enjoy watching them scratching around the farm.
The chickens, Ann attests, just love it when she tosses crushed corn as a treat.
She stated that all the fencing, nesting areas and feeders are repurposed or recycled. The chickens are in a fence, but they can fly out and forage around wherever they like.
The Barefoots collect eggs twice a day, averaging between 7-12 eggs a day.
Just a few miles away in the Spivey’s Corner area, Sharon Lewis is greeted by her hens running up to the gate. Once inside, the brood of chickens are at her heels following Lewis’s every step. She feeds them dried mealworms for their daily treat. She collects around 8-10 eggs a day. Lewis is adding more hens to her flock soon, two Cream Legbars that will lay blue eggs. Currently they are housed in her father’s brooding box equipped with a heat lamp.
Lewis stated, “There is no better way to start my day than to go outside, regardless of the temperature, to see just how many eggs they have gifted me with today. While the fresh eggs are wonderful, my favorite part of raising chickens is watching and spending time with them as I find it relaxing, and often quite entertaining with the established pecking order. And in case you are wondering, yes I do talk to my chickens and they actually do cackle back”.
She laughs as she watches them mill about in their fenced in area of the yard.
“Watching them tends to bring back special, often long-forgotten memories, of places and loved ones who are no longer with us.”