Lucy Raises Chickens, season 6 of I Love Lucy, originally aired March 4, 1957
Lucy Raises Chickens begins with Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz) worrying about how to pay the bills, and his wife Lucy (Lucille Ball) comes up with the idea of farming to increase their income — and they settle on the idea of raising chickens. In the meantime, their neighbor Betty Ramsey (Mary Jane Croft) tells Lucy that a friend of hers is interested in featuring their new home in House and Garden magazine.
That weekend, Fred and Ethel Mertz (William Frawley and Vivian Vance) come for a visit, and the Ricardos explain their farming plans. Drawing on his experience growing up on a farm, Fred suggests that they hire someone with experience to do the work for them, offering them their guesthouse to stay in, and a share of the profits for pay. They put an advertisement in the local newspaper, and soon look at the replies — including one from Fred!
Fred and Ethel have arranged for someone to manage their apartment building, and soon they’re hired — with Fred warning that it will take a week to get their chicken coop in order, and Lucy offers them the guest room in the meanwhile — with Ricky laughing over the thought of becoming Fred’s landlord after all of these years.
Soon, Lucy and Ethel come home and surprise Fred with the news that they’ve brought home 500 baby chicks — but it’s too cold for the chicks to survive in the cold, and so they bring them into the house, and put them in the den, where they have to crank up the heat to 90 degrees. While Fred checks on the furnace, Lucy and Ethel decide to feed the baby chicks — letting them all out of their boxes, and scattered across the den.
While Fred, Lucy and Ethel go into the kitchen for a snack while the chicks eat, Little Ricky comes home and goes into the den where all the chicks are — “Oh, boy!” The little boy excitedly shows off the baby chick to his mother, who asks if he’s left the den door closed, which of course he hasn’t! Soon, it’s the great chick round up — which makes herding cats sound easy in comparison. Ricky soon comes home, and Lucy explains the situation — and 65 chicks are still missing.
Lucy plays momma chick to get the chicks to follow her into the den — just as the people from House and Garden magazine arrive — and just as quickly depart, leaving a disappointed Lucy to finish herding the chicks.
Lucy Raises Chickens is one of the classic episodes, and is available on I Love Lucy DVD season 6.
Funny quotes from Lucy Raises Chicks
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Corn, not chickens.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Why corn instead of chickens?
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): We’ll sleep better; corn doesn’t crow at 5 o’clock in the morning.
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): You’ve never seen me eat before?
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): I’ve never seen you do anything else.
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): We can’t afford a hired hand.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): We can’t even afford a little finger.
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): I had a pencil around here … what happened to it?
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): Maybe Ethel ate it.
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Fred, do you really know about chickens?
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): Well, for the last 25 years I’ve been henpecked!
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): [talking about the baby chicks] Listen, they’re talking about Fred.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Talking about Fred?
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): Sure, they’re saying “cheap, cheap, cheap!”