Mail Call: July/Aug 2013

Letters to the editor written by GRIT readers include a mother chicken raising ducks, sassafras tea, panther sightings and edible weeds.

| July/August 2013

Hen Raising Ducks

You asked for stories about chickens, and I have a good one that happened when I was about 8 years old. I’m now 85 years young and have never been without this magazine, as my parents had subscribed some time before I was born and, when I married, the first instruction I gave my wife was to subscribe. I never miss an issue.

I’ll apologize for printing this, rather than using cursive. You see, I am on medicine that makes my hands shake. If I tried to write, neither one of us could read it. The shaking hands really aren’t that bad, because I take other medicine that says, “Shake Well Before Taking” — now that I can do.

Back to the story about chickens. We lived on a farm in Indiana about 70 miles south of Indianapolis, and we really had everything on the farm: horses, mules, cows, goats, turkeys, ducks, chickens, etc.

Mother decided that the flock of ducks was too small, but she did not have a duck that would set the eggs. After thinking for some time, she found a chicken that wanted to brood, and she fixed the hen a nest with some duck eggs. The hen did not hesitate to brood the duck eggs, and she did a good job hatching 12 little ducks. They were most obedient to her at first, at least until they were near the pond beyond the barn.

This is when all the fun started. I was the youngest of seven children, and the whole family gathered to watch that hen try to get the little ducklings to come out of the water. Such pacing back and forth along the edge of the pond, making all sorts of racket, but the little ducks paid no attention to her. After about two hours of bathing, they would come out of the water, and the hen would take them away from the pond, but the little ducks knew where it was and would go for a swim twice a day without fail. It was pretty entertaining for all of us. We always predicted that the hen would get hoarse from all her screaming and calling, but she never did.

Now, in the future I don’t expect to do without your magazine. However, I can only get my hands on our copy after my wife finishes with it!

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on modern homesteading, animal husbandry, gardening, real food and more!