In the spring mom started keeping eggs instead of selling them. It was time to replenish the supply of fryers and laying hens. The eggs had to be candled before they were put in the incubator to determine if they were fertilized eggs or not. There was a chimney made for the kerosene lamp especially for candling eggs. It was made of tin with a hole in one side. The eggs were held up to this hole which made it possible to see thru the egg. If the egg had a small speck in the yolk it was fertilized. If the egg was not fertilized it would not produce a chicken . Mom would pull the shades set the lamp on the kitchen table and sort several buckets of eggs..
Dad went to the barn to bring in the incubator and set it up in the living room. The incubator was a large rectangle box about four feet by eight feet and twelve inches deep. It was set up on a platform waist high.
The incubator held several trays that could be pulled out like a drawer. The temperature in the incubator was controlled by a kerosene lamp that was held in a special holder on the side of the incubator. A thermometer, that laid on top of the eggs inside the incubator let mom know how high or low to turn the wick in the lamp. The eggs had to be rolled over once a day so, every afternoon mom would pull out each tray and slowly roll the eggs with the palm of her hand.
After the chicks were hatched they were taken to the chicken coop, a small building with a brooder stove. A brooder stove was a kerosene stove with an umbrella type dome. The little chicks could get under the dome to get warm. I remember one spring , mom and I went out to the coop to check on the chicks. When we got there all the chicks were dead. The coop got to hot and the chicks all smothered to death. Mom leaned her head on her arm against the door jam and cried.
The chicks usually lived and when they got bigger they were used for fryers or laying hens. We sold butchered fryers to several people in town. The eggs were sold to the local creamery and sold for ten to twelve cents a dozen.
The chickens roosted in the trees during the summer. In the thirties, during the depression many chickens were stolen from the trees during the night.
The chickens on the farms were considered “women’s” work and the money was sort of their extra spending money. They could buy something for themselves or use the money for whatever they liked. Mom didn’t drive the car, so dad did a lot of the shopping for groceries etc. When mom needed chicken feed she always went with dad to buy it because the feed came in cloth sacks that were printed with different designs She wanted to pick out the design she liked on the sacks because she used the sacks to make clothing. Some had small flowers while others had small checks. I wore chicken feed sack dresses or bloomers for years.