September 2015
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Which Came First – The Chicken or the Egg?

Which came first – the chicken or the egg? It’s the age old question. The eggs always came from the grocery store as far as I knew. So, technically I guess the eggs came first for us. But does that really answer the question?

My roots in having chickens are deep
When I was a kid growing up in the suburbs, we got four Easter chickens. They were red, yellow, blue, and green. At the time I didn’t think much about those colors – now I think it’s kind of weird. As they got bigger and got their feathers, they all turned white. I didn’t know it at the time but we had leghorns and they are great egg layers.

We had built a caged area around an old dog house in the yard for them to live in. One day one of them turned up missing. We searched all over but couldn’t find it. Eventually my father found it under the dog house with its leg stuck. He got it our but told me he was going to have to kill it. He probably said “cull” but I had no idea what that word was and thought it was his West Virginia accent. I begged him not to kill the chicken. I had already given them all names. (Note to self – don’t name your food). I convinced my father to let me try to take care of the injured chicken. I wrapped its injured leg with bandages and kept it in a box. It couldn’t move, but it was eating and drinking. After a week, that chicken was walking again! Another week and it was ready to go back to the flock. I felt really attached to it. I can’t tell you its name now, but I remember vividly taking care of it and how good I felt when it recovered. Apparently that experience really stuck with me.

Over the next couple months the chickens got bigger and bigger. I was excited about getting the first eggs. Secretly I hoped my favorite would be the first to lay an egg. Turns out that wasn’t going to happen. The house I grew up in didn’t have air conditioning, so I often slept with a window open. One morning I heard it – one of our chickens was crowing. We had a rooster. I thought that was so cool – our own Foghorn Leghorn!

The neighbors didn’t think it was so cool. Apparently there were rules in the suburbs. (That’s a subject for another time). Over the next few weeks, the crowing got louder and more annoying to the neighbors. Then my father told me the terrible news. The chickens had to go. I was upset but there was no changing his mind. He found a farm in the country that would take them. We made the long drive there to drop them off. I wasn’t happy about it, but I accepted it. I think my father traded those four chickens for two dozen eggs.

Those few months with the chickens were a great time. I believe the experiences stick with you and the lessons are learned much later in life. As a young kid, you can only comprehend so many lessons. I learned about taking care of animals. I also learned about some of the pros and the cons of chickens. I didn’t know at the time, but today I know there are many more pros than cons. I learned one of the major negatives of the suburbs.

Back to the original question.
That experience taught me a lot. At the time, I didn’t understand the question. As I got older, the memories stuck with me. It was 40 years later that I finally got my own chickens again. So really which came first – the chickens or the eggs? Obviously for me the answer is: the chickens did!

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1 comment to Which Came First – The Chicken or the Egg?

  • Katherine Eichhorn

    Hello! This post could not be written any better!
    Reading through this post reminds me of my old room mate!
    He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this post
    to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read.
    Many thanks for sharing!

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