Saving Seed and a Rooster’s Life on Illinois Homestead

Illinois homesteader performs emergency surgery on a rooster to save precious seed.

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In pioneer days, my grandmother lived in a sparsely settled community in Illinois. She had a small chicken flock of which she was very proud, but she had only one rooster and did not know where she could get another.

She went out one spring morning to plant sweet corn – and garden seed was very scarce. When she had worked to the end of the row, she looked back to see the rooster had picked up and swallowed every kernel of corn she had dropped.

This resourceful young woman grabbed the rooster and rushed to the house where she collected a sharp knife and needle and thread. Without a moment's hesitation, she slit open his crop and rescued her precious seed corn. Then she sewed his crop with needle and thread. Thus she saved her corn as well as her valuable rooster which soon recovered and was none the worse after his unusual operation. Nothing like saving seed and a valuable rooster’s life at the same time.

Estella Robare
Sparks, Nebraska


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.