Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tough Lessons Learned

Back in Mid-January, my husband bought 25 broiler chickens for my son to raise as a 4H project. He will show two chicks at the spring county livestock show in two weeks.

A couple of days ago we came home from visiting a friend to find dead and dying chicks all over the yard and around the chicken tractor they were being kept in. Our three dogs had dug in under the chicken tractor and proceeded to kill whatever they could catch. It was traumatic for my son as he saw the dying chicks suffering from wounds that couldn't be healed.

We were able to save six chicks and of those six only three seem to be healthy and without bite marks. It was a learning experience for all of us and it has made us look a bit differently at our dogs.
No, we don't love them less, we just understand more fully that they are animals and sometimes instinct drives them instead of trained behavior.

Strangely, the dogs have never bothered the free-ranging chickens in the past. That they purposely went for these is a mystery to me.

Once our remaining broilers have been shown and then processed humanely for our consumption, I'll prefer to remember them as they are pictured in the top two photos. The first picture showing them in all their fluffy innocence and the second picture showing a five-day-old chick that my daughter put to sleep by rubbing it's belly.

And for those that think farm living is idyllic, I must interject that farm living is hard work, you have to deal with hard truths, and many times things don't turn out as you had planned and purposed. Early morning feedings in the cold and rain make you question why you do it. And coming home to a yard full of wasteful devastation that makes your children cry and ask, "Why?!" , can make you think twice about the choices you've made. And yet we will still move forward in all this animal craziness knowing the risks are there and the emotions are invested whether we like it or not.

Moving Forward, Julie


Michelle said...

So sorry for their little loss. We just bought a small homestead in MN and plan on starting with some chickens and a beef cow. I pray that my children will be able to handle the death of little chicks when it happens.

Twisted said...

Somehow I missed this post. So sorry to hear about the chicks. That is such a hard lesson for young hearts and old, to process.

I hope y'all are doing well. Are you getting any of this snow?