The Remains of a Brimley Chicken Coop

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By Sharon M. Kennedy

Last winter I pulled on my snowshoes and made trails in my backyard. I took a photo of the old chicken coop and my trail leading to it. This year the snow will remain pristine as I won’t be snowshoeing anytime soon. Some readers might remember I wrote an August column wherein I mentioned I had started walking again and eventually “took the hill” north of my place. Well, here’s a news flash for anyone 75 and older who wants to shed pounds and “get in shape” by walking: Forget it!

Okay, maybe that’s not the advice professionals would give so I’d better explain. I was proud of myself for finally leaving the comfort of my chair and making it to Six Mile Road approximately one mile from my home. After two weeks, my right thigh began to complain. I ignored it, convincing myself it just needed time to adjust to a new daily schedule. Well, they say pride goeth before a fall and I guess they’re right. The stress on my thigh resulted from stress on my hip. You get the picture so I’m off the snowshoes for this winter. Maybe next year, but now back to the chicken coop.

Collapse of the chicken coop

The picture you see is the remains of where our hens used to sleep and lay their eggs. It was a low log building. As a child, I dreaded going into it because it was dark, and I was afraid a hen might be setting and attack me. By now you know I was afraid of every critter on the farm except the cats. I think Mom said a hen wouldn’t attack if I didn’t go near her nest, but fear always trumps the advice of our mother. Anyway, if I remember correctly there were three roosts at varying heights on one side of the coop. There was plenty of hay in raised beds along the other walls where the hens laid their eggs. We rarely had more than ten chickens at one time. Dad opened their door when he did the morning milking. The hens hopped down, went outside, and began scratching for bugs or whatever was on their breakfast menu. Naturally, they had store-bought chicken feed from McGinnis, but anyone who has chickens knows their nature is to scratch. By the time I got up during summer—I never went near the barn in the morning during the school year—the coop would be empty except for a setting hen.

Chickens aren’t the brightest fowl, but ours were some of the most determined ever to emerge from shells. Although we had no roosters, if a hen became broody, she sat on her eggs for days in a futile attempt to hatch them. When Dad got around to it, he removed Miss Chicken from her nest and disposed of the rotten eggs. If you’ve ever smelled such an egg, the stench of sulfur stays with you.

Did I ever get over my fear of the chicken coop? Sure. The day it collapsed.

Wellhouse to left, chicken house at far right

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