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Chicken Swap

Chicken Swap

 Bill sent me an email with a link that advertised a Chicken Swap. What is a Chicken Swap, I asked. He wasn’t quite sure, but now that he heard there was such a thing, how could we not go and check it out?


We traveled to the local tractor supply store. There, similar to days of yore were, not circled covered wagons, but pick-up trucks and lots of cars. The cacophony of barnyard calls drew us in. There were all sorts of fowl, rabbits, goats, ducks and assorted equipment for the care and raising of them all. There was even a woman selling homemade soap, who has since become a friend, but that comes in a later chapter.


A Chicken Swap is a gathering where people swap, sell, and buy all manner of farm animals. These are some of the nicest folks you’ll ever meet. They are helpful with answering your questions, offering anecdotal tales, and showing great interest in whatever you may have brought along to sell.


We were sold on the whole Chicken Swap culture, and became followers of Chicken websites and blogs. No one can leave a swap empty handed, or empty caged, as it were. Our days as empty nesters were numbered. Our children, both, biological and step, had flown the nest, but we soon filled that void with a flock of our own chickens.


Friends heard about our trip to the swap and decided they needed the experience as well. So I located an upcoming Chicken Swap on the internet and sent them driving directions.


A bit lower on the same webpage was an advertisement for a romantic weekend get-away. I copied and pasted the link in an email to Bill, saying it looked like fun and we should try it. He shot back an email, “WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE SHOULD TRY THIS? Did you read the whole thing?” Well no, I hadn’t, but quickly remedied that only to find that my “romantic weekend” was a couple swap! Yikes! Had my new husband thought that after only a brief time together I wanted to swap him out? Reading a bit further I found that not only was it a spouse swap weekend, but it seemed that clothing was optional as it was a nudist couple swap. Had Bill not carefully read the whole thing we may have arrived bags in hand only to find that we had over packed! A word to the wise, when searching something on the Internet, read the results completely!


We started attending Chicken Swaps with items to sell, and one of our sons agreed to go with me. We had had four roosters hatch, and that is three roosters too many. He helped me load the roosters into the travel cage and off we went to sell the boys off. It was a very chilly day, and after a while I went into the tractor supply store to warm up. I got a very excited text message from my son saying he had sold one of the roosters! Hurray, only two more and we could pack up and go to lunch. I hurried out to our car to see the rooster being packed up. In a flash a second one was sold.


Picture for a moment, if you will, my 6’3” son on his hands and knees half in and half out of a large wire cage trying to grab an elusive rooster. Sure enough he got the one he was after, but just as sure the remaining one saw freedom and took off over my son’s back and raced off under some parked cars. My son, a true animal lover but now cold and out of patience said, “Mom get the car started and let’s just let him go. He wants his freedom so badly, let him have it.” I have to admit the thought did cross my mind. There were about forty cars there, and that rooster was fast.


Getting back to the interesting folks that come to swaps, suddenly, and seemingly out of nowhere, came a man with a net attached to a long pole. With great skill and speed this guy swooped in and dove under cars with that net, and quick as that had our rooster trapped. “Whose rooster is this?” Yes, there was half a second when my son and I locked eyes and thought about getting quietly into our car and driving off, but that passed and we owned up to it.


Back the rooster went into the cage. With a flash of a felt marker and a lot of inspiration from our growling tummies, we crossed out “Roosters $5.00” and printed “FREE ROOSTER” just as neatly as can be done with the cold fingers and all. In no time we were packing him up for his new owners and were off in the warm car to get some lunch. Once we had lunch and were warmed up, we had a good laugh over the whole thing.


Hoegger Farmyard Contributor

Sheila Nichols


Sheila and Bill Nichols have launched into farming at their new home off Liberty Farm Road in North Branch. Sheila is writing an account of their adventure that she has offered to share with the Hoegger Farmyard. This is the first of what we hope will be a continuing series of articles.  


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