An Increase in the Barn
September 16, 2011
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!