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What’s with these tiny chicken drumsticks?

The latest Trading Thoughts column from Ron Walter.
Trading Thoughts by Ron Walter

Chickens have long been a part of life for Yours Truly, even from the time I was a toddler.

My first experience with chickens was scattering grain feed around them in the late afternoon.

My worst experiences were with the old rooster that terrified me by chasing me all over the yard as fast as my little legs could go. I feared his pecking.

Once I got a little older a big turkey gobbler terrorized me until the day I faced him with a kick in the chest.

Chicken was a staple meal in a diet along with beef, sausage, pork and wild game.

We had a sort of ritual on the farm with the chickens. Every year my mother and aunt ordered 200 Leghorn chicks.

When the white birds became adults, by fall it was time for butchering day.

I never ceased to amaze at the chickens’ reaction when the axe, wielded by my mother, chopped off the head. The birds flopped around for a few seconds in a dance of death before dropping dead.

Then the butchering process started. The dead birds were submerged in boiling water to loosen the feathers for plucking.

The hardest part, picking off the pin feathers that stayed after plucking, was next. That was a disagreeable job.

Following that the chickens were eviscerated and prepared for preservation. My mother and aunt canned dozens of jars of chicken for winter and early summer meals until we got electric power and a deep freeze.

I never realized back then how much work that involved.

The two-quart sealer of canned chicken came with the entire bird — main body, heart, gizzard, liver and feet.

Chicken’s feet are like a delicacy — just forget what they have been rooting in.

Shortly after my bride and I got settled, my parents brought us a box of canned meat and vegetables.

I was watching TV while my partner inspected the box of jars when there was a loud shriek from the kitchen.

It was my partner. “Look, look,’’ her voice trembled as she pointed to an open jar with chicken feet stuck in the centre.

I never did get to feast on those feet.

On the farm, the chicken was often roasted with potatoes, carrots and dumplings. The feet were gnawed on almost as dessert.

In recent years chicken has become a larger part of my medically prescribed diet.

I enjoy eating chicken drumsticks but have a complaint about the pieces sold in grocery stores and fast food outlets.

Drumsticks from the chickens we raised on the farm were huge. Eating one almost filled up a growing boy with a hollow leg.

Two bites and today’s drumsticks are devoured, leaving one still hungry. Pigeons almost have bigger drumsticks.

I yearn for real drumsticks from real chickens.


Ron Walter can be reached at

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.           

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