The ‘Chicken Man’ |

The ‘Chicken Man’

Laught Tracks in the Dust
Milo Yield
Damphewmore Acres. Kan.

My good neighbor, ol’ Harley Ryder, gave me the honorific moniker “Chicken Man” years ago. But, it was only this week that I felt that I’ve lived up to the name.

I’ve been hatching chicks under my own hens for years and years. Hatching chicks is always a chancy project at best. There’s so many bad things that can happen. Almost always some of the eggs I put under the hen are infertile. Sometimes the old hen breaks some turning her eggs daily and the result is a mess of messy eggs that cause some to not hatch. And, in almost every attempt to hatch eggs, some of the little chicks just don’t have the built-in gumption to peck their way out of the egg.

Also, I’ve had black snakes and bull snakes slither in and scare an old hen off the nest so they can eat their fill of eggs. Once I had a raccoon break into the brooding box and eat both the hen and eggs.

Well, three weeks ago, I put 10 eggs under a large old hen in the brooder house. I was without much confidence in the hen because last year she abandoned her eggs after two weeks. Then, earlier this spring, I put her on 10 eggs and she hatched only one egg out of the bunch, but did manage to raise her sole chick. So, with that experience with the hen, I wuzn’t very optimistic about success this time.

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I gained a little confidence this time because not once in 21 days did I see the hen off her eggs — although it wuz clear she wuz eating and drinking every few days.

Well, this time the old hen wuz an unqualified 100 percent success. All 10 eggs she brooded yielded a healthy chick. Yep, ten for ten. I guess it just proves that experience is pretty valuable — even for a chicken. First in a lifetime for me, too.


I don’t know what is happening to our fruit trees. Earlier, my apricot tree wuz loaded with fruit and it dropped every one of them within a few days. Now, our apple trees are shedding apples every day; however, I’m hopeful some of the apples will stay on the tree and yield some fruit.

The rest of our gardens are yielding results now. We’re enjoying at our convenience fresh tomatoes, zucchinis, acorn squash, summer squash, kale, onions, red potatoes, white potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, grilling peppers, jalapeño popper peppers, and Mad Hatter peppers which are so sweet that I eat them right off the plant.

Plus, my neighbor, ol’ Shuck Kears, is keeping us in fresh sweet corn. It’s my payment for tilling his garden each spring and fall.


Folks, this week my good friend from Pratt, Kan. — ol’ Claude Hopper — drove up for three days of fishing in the fine cool, clear weather that followed last weeks sauna weather. He and I proved beyond a doubt why the good ol’ US of A has productivity troubles.

Here’s what happened. He drove his pickup almost 400 miles. I drove my pickup, pulling a John Boat, almost 200 miles. We spent about $75 on gas. One battery that powers my trolling motor went dead and needs replacing. A part on the trolling motor needs fixing. We spent probably $40 on food and that much more on our favorite relaxin’ beverages. We lost probably $10 worth of fishin’ tackle by hooking on trees and rocks.

And, not only that, the fishing wuz slow and we only hooked three nice fish and didn’t land a single one. We ended up filleting only five small fish.

So, the net result wuz a lot of fun, a lot of camaraderie, a lot of good eating and drinking — and about one single pound of fresh fish fillets for Claude to take home with him. Pretty expensive fish!

All I can say is that our country is in big trouble if the productive use of labor and capital exhibited by Claude and I this week is emulated by everyone.


Ol’ Giant Clawsway, the race horse I have a 10% racing interest in, has moved his training to Lone Star Track in Fort Worth, Texas. The first of August, his race trainer, ol’ Ray Simm, will ship the colt to Remington Race Track in Oklahoma City. The plan is to run the colt in his first race towards the end of August.

I’ll keep you posted, as I’m sure a lot of you will want to bet your life’s savings on the colt’s first race.


Our county fair is looming next week. We set up the fairgrounds this Saturday morning. This year, I lost the job of co-judge of the 4-H cookie jar contest and acquired the new job of assistant superintendent of the agronomy/horticulture exhibits. From the sound of the title, I’m moving up in the world. We’ll see.


This funny is compliments of Jay Esse in Colorado: A feedlot manager took his 8-year-old son with him to work on “Take Your Kid to Work Day.” The kid had been looking forward for weeks to the experience with his dad.

However, father/son hadn’t been at work long before the kid got cranky and started crying.

His dad, concerned, bent over and asked his son what was wrong.

As all the folks in the feedlot office gathered around, also concerned about the tyke, the little kid sobbed, “Daddy, where are all the clowns and goof-offs you told me you worked with?”

Oops! Mouth overloaded good sense


Words of wisdom for the week are: “Be honest, if people heard what you are thinking half of the time, you’d either be in jail or a mental hospital.”

Have a good ‘un. ❖

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