What I learned at McDonald’s

By Richard Karns The Table Hopper

I enjoy listening to the conversation at McDonald’s. There are those times when I do have something to offer as part of the conversation. In my last article I said that some of the regulars were farmers, and this is a topic I am familiar with. I was raised on a small farm with cows, pigs, rabbits and occasionally chickens, so I do feel somewhat familiar with most of the topics.

The conversation was about farming and the tricks they learned by trial and error to ensure their young livestock survived. The farmer depends on their livestock for many things, and their survival is important. I am going to write about three of the tips the farmers identified as tricks of the trade, that were done by their parents and grandparents.

No. 1: When raising rabbits, if you have one mother rabbit we will call Rabbit A. Rabbit A may have more babies than she is able to raise, while Rabbit B may have only three or four babies. If you put Vicks Vaporub on the nose of Rabbit B, you can put some babies from Rabbit A in with her. After several days of doing this, by the time Rabbit B can smell again, the foster babies would take on the scent of her own and she would raise them.

No. 2: If you have hens that will not sit on their eggs to hatch them, keep several banty hens. Banty hens will not only sit on their own eggs to hatch, but if you put regular eggs under them, they will hatch them too. I remember my uncle on the farm would put the hens in a wooden A-frame type structure so they would sit on their eggs. I guess this is why it may be a good idea to have one or two banty hens in the hen house.

No. 3: One of the regulars at McDonald’s, his grandfather, raised sheep and shared this technique. If one of his grandfathers’ ewes lost her lamb at birth, and if twins were born to another ewe, he placed the hide of the dead lamb on one of the twins. The scent of the ewe’s dead baby would be transferred to the foster twin, and the ewe would raise it as her own. It isn’t uncommon for ewes to have twins, and according to the conversation, this was a very effective technique.