In 2010, Asagi Hatchery turned 50.

But our family’s business and it’s relationship with chickens began twenty five years earlier, around 1935 with a small chicken and egg farm.  And we wonder, maybe even way before that.

This has got us thinking about beginnings.  About how this all started, this relationship between humans and chickens.

No one alive knows exactly what happen that very first time that a human hatched a chicken’s egg.

All we can do is imagine.

We can wonder.

We can ask that very first person:  Were you foraging for wild garlic greens or dandelions?  Did you look up at the quickly darkening sky and decide to gather more?  Were you on your way to the creek, anticipating that first drink of sweet cold water before filling a gourd for your children or elderly mother?  When you came upon the nest, did you wait in the tall grass to see if the bird it belonged to would return?

In the nest of nine eggs was one already hatched?  Did the distressed peeping of something so small cause you to move from your hiding spot?  Were you amazed by its fragile softness?  What did it do to your heart when it fell asleep in your hand?  How did the warmth of the unhatched eggs feel?  Did you pick one up and could you feel it moving?  Could you hear the faint cheeping of the chicks trying to hatch?  Could you see their tiny beaks poking through a tiny hole in the speckled shell?

As you ran home in the storm – eggs, chick gently rolled up in the nest and tucked under your arm – what were you hoping for?

As you lay in your dwelling that evening as the storm raged outside, did you stay awake watching the chicks hatch one by one as the wet nest of green grass slowly dried near your fire?

And we can ask you too, fellow chicken keeper – how did your relationship with chickens begin?

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