An Increase in the Barn

September 16, 2011

An Old Vermonter


The old Vermonter, Billy, who lived up the road from my parents when I was very young and helped around our place there, used this curious and amusing expression to describe a new birth among the livestock. For example, my parents raised milk goats and one time they had a doe that was expecting kids. Billy came into the kitchen early one morning, having done the chores, and said to my father, “Hey, Bud! There’s been an increase in the barn!”, which was to say that the goat had given birth during the night.

So it is here this morning.

The day after our rooster, King Tut, died, my children decided to perpetuate his dynasty by trying to hatch the last few eggs they knew he had fertilized. As it happened at that point we had a “broody” hen (one with the compulsion to sit on eggs and hatch them, even if there are no eggs to sit on). Though we were only getting about one egg per day it was a good bet they were fertile, so we saved a few eggs out during the ensuing days and placed them under the broody hen.

Two of the eggs have hatched and the chicks are very healthy. The ratio of hens to roosters from eggs is usually about 50%, so it is possible we will have a rooster, and who knows, maybe he will be gentle like his father was!

Hen and Chick Truro

A new and gentle rooster?


2 Responses to “An Increase in the Barn”

  1. Ann B said

    What a neat story, and a cute chick, too. I hope for a friendly rooster for you! We just love our painting of Brush Hollow Beach. Thank you so much. Have a wonderful fall, my favorite time to be on the Cape. All the best, Ann

  2. Mother Fox said

    What a wonderful sequel to the story of King Tut! And just for the record, Billy’s way of talking about pregnancy and birth—“there’s going to be an increase” or “there’s been an increase” was actually a bona fide term/phrase at one time (an earlier time) in the English language. I came across this piece of information quite recently during my various researches.

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