During the Great Depression, my father raised rabbits to feed our family. I loved playing with the bunnies and didn't realize for a long time that we were eating them. To this day, I can't eat rabbit.
During World War II, My parents raised chickens to provide meat for our family. One chicken, in particular, became my pet. She was a Rhode Island Red named Brownie. My father didn't remember she was my pet and killed her for dinner one day. It took a long time for me to forgive him.
When my children were growing up, we had lots of animals on our 1/4 acre funny farm in an suburban city: 4 to 5 dogs, 2 to 3 cats, a flock of Bantam hens and roosters, and Dutch rabbits. They all ran loose except the rabbits. The chickens slept in our redwood trees at night. One rooster, named PooFoo, crowed every morning at dawn. A neighbor apparently didn't like being awakened so early and shot PooFoo one day. My son was heart broken. We named one of our puppies PooFoo. My children had the pleasure of seeing baby animals being born and how all the dogs and cats took care of them.
Our next door neighbors and friends also had animals like ours. In addition, they had ducks, who are better watchdogs than dogs. They also had a pet monkey. Our whole neighborhood was a funny farm. It was wonderful for all the children and enriched their lives.
We added a screened playroom to our house. In it was a wooden palette on which the four dogs slept. At night, the dogs would curl up together on the palette. The two cats would then curl up in the spaces between them. Then my son's pet chicken, a white Pullet, would climb on and sleep on top of the pile. We have pictures of this somewhere that I wish I could find.
We didn't forget the wild birds. We had fruit trees in the back yard, but the Almond tree was the favorite of the birds. We never got an almond off that tree because the birds always got them first. We also had a pomegranate tree that the birds loved. Butrflynet loved the seeds if she could beat the birds to them.
Our house was on a 10 house cul de sac. During periods when I was not working, I would walk down to the end of the cul de sac and back home with the dogs, cats, and chickens following me. The chickens got so used to this that when my children (Butrflynet and her brother) would walk to school, which was about three blocks from our home, one of the chickens would follow them. Several times my children had to come back home with the chicken or I got telephone calls from the school to please come and retrieve the chicken.
Such good memories.
At my step grandmother's home were white leghorns. One old rooster, that had smehow become crippled, attacked us every time we passed near him. He never caused any harm, though. We enjoyed his sallies and were actually fond of "George," as we called him. My step father had no such humor. One day he became annoyed with George and twisted his head, killing him. I could have cried.
Once when I was very small, I was visiting my grandparents on their small farm. I was shocked to see my grandmother swinging chickens by their head in circles until their necks broke. Some times she would cnop off the chickens heads and I watched in horror as their remaining bodies flopped around on the ground. I had nightmares for weeks after that.
She did teach me how to pluck off the chicken feathers, which didn't seem to bother me as much.