Protecting Chickens on a Western Homestead

Gramma used a broom for protecting chickens from bobcats.

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In her New York state home, Grandmother loved poultry, so when she came West, she was anxious to have chickens; though she’d eventually have to face the task of protecting chickens. She rode 36 miles in a lumber wagon to get a setting of hen eggs, which she slipped under a wild duck setting near her home. The newly hatched chicks were brought to the house and kept inside for several weeks before they were put outside the door to pick. She saved every crumb from her table for her little brood. And once when a bobcat tried to steal a fryer, Grandmother saved her chicken, protecting chickens by belaboring the cat with her broom.

Minnie J. Sellens
Willow Springs, Missouri


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.