The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

March 13, 2013

BICKER: The wonderful world of chickens


Clinton Herald

CAMANCHE — I love raising chickens. I thank God every day for my girls.

My world became a little brighter when my first brood arrived four years ago at my local post office.

There hasn’t been a day that’s gone by that I don’t thank them for all of the wonderful gifts they have given to me. Not only have my little chickens laid more eggs than I could ever eat, but they hatched a little egg called joy in my heart.

Every two years I order baby chicks from my friends at the Murray McMurray Hatchery in Webster City; and Monday was that monumental day.

I talked to a very nice woman who took my order and I think she could sense my level of enthusiasm when I asked if 42 little girls could be sent to me on June 3.

She couldn’t help but chuckle when I said how much I love my girls and how I’ve written about them in this column. As far as I’m concerned, my chickens are little feathered miracles sent down from Heaven.

It’s truly amazing how many different types of chickens there are in the world. You can order buff brahmas, a Golden Polish, white cochin, Hamburg, leghorns, Araucana or turkens, which looks like a bird that is half chicken and half turkey.

When I receive my new Murray McMurray catalog in January, I drool over all of the different breeds. I dream about having colored eggs from the Araucana or Easter egg chicken and showing a beautiful Golden Polish at the state fair.

As I thumb through the pages of my catalog, I always come back to the leghorn — the pearl white leghorn, in fact. I feel a sense of loyalty to this breed since my grandmother, great-grandmother and even great-great-grandmother raised these girls. I just can’t break with tradition.

I wish all three of these women could see Klucker Farms and see first-hand how much their chicken genes have affected me.

Since my grandmother has been gone for almost 24 years, raising these chickens has been like having a little piece of her with me. When my first egg was laid four years ago in October, it came on Grandma’s birthday. I can’t help but think that it was a special present from her.

The Murray McMurray catalog has it all — from chicken nightlights, shirts, incubators, egg equipment, nesting boxes, egg baskets and egg wipes. If I had an unlimited amount of cash floating around, I could do some serious damage to an order form.

My friends, co-workers and relatives can’t help but shake their heads. I don’t think they’ll ever be able to understand the appeal of the wonderful and magnificent animal called the chicken.

I think Grandma Moses put it best, “If you know somethin’ well, you can always paint it but people would be better off buyin’ chickens.”

Angie Bicker has been employed with the Clinton Herald since 2001. She can be reached at angiebicker@clintonherald.com.