Monday, February 4, 2013

The Reality of Farm Life

Or should I say...the reality of life?

There's no easy way to put this. So here it goes.

We lost a chick.

I'm so bummed, but after some time and thought I have had to come to the fact that this is reality. This is true whether or not you live on a farm, right? Big picture here...we are born, we live, and then we die. It happens to everyone and everything.

Sometimes faster than we think though.

I went out to check on the chicks Saturday night and found one separated from the rest and not doing well. As I picked up the poor chick I thought maybe it just got too cold and so I held it in my hand for a while under the light, hoping that the warmth was all that was needed to pick the little thing up. I also dipped it's beak in water, but it was not interested. Thoughts came flooding to mind as I kneeled down on the ground and hovered over the edge of the trough holding the helpless chick under the light.

I thought about life and death. I thought about the order of things here on earth and why it is that everything that has life follows the same cycle.  I also prayed for the little chick, but it wasn't to be that it would make it. In fact, the helpless creature died in my hand. Hindsight is 20/20 and that's a fact. When I first got the chicks and was in the process of putting them in the brooder, I noticed that one was trampled a bit. I didn't think much of it because there were quite a few chicks in the box and it seemed to be doing fine once it's beak was dipped into the water. The next morning I thought it was funny that the chick was so tired that it slept in the main area of traffic and hence, got ran over a few times. I moved it and it 'seemed' to be doing fine. During the day, I checked on the chicks often to make sure that the temperature was what it's supposed to be and yet again it seemed to be okay. Nevertheless, that night as you know, the poor chicky turned for the worse.

I'm sure if I separated it, it may have had a better chance but it never was really thriving to start with. I am a novice and as such, I am learning lessons. Albeit, the hard way.

This is the reality of farm life. Life and death happen, whether we like it or not. If your uncomfortable with this, then I'm sorry because this is life. If your really uncomfortable with this, then may I suggest you don't farm? Not meaning anything by this statement, just stating the truth. As a farmer I raise animals for food and plant gardens for food. Both have life and death cycles. My husband and I have decided to raise sheep so we can have meat to eat and to sell. Therefore, this Spring when we have lambs (Lord willing), if there are a few nice ewe lambs we will probably keep those for breeding, but everything else is destined for butcher. That's why we have we can eat. We also plan on having a garden so we can have delicious, nutritious produce in which to eat, sell, and possible preserve for later consumption. We also are raising two cows, but I don't think I need to continue to explain the cycle, you probably get the picture. This is why we farm.  We farm so we can eat. Simple.

I love this life and this reality. Surprised? As a believer in Jesus Christ, I am not afraid of death because I know where I'm going. Sure I don't want to die right now because I want to grow old with my hubby and raise our children. However, I know that where I am going is infinitely better than life on earth, and so I have peace. I love that being granted to raise my kids on a farm has enabled me to show my children how to care for creation, how to care for themselves, and I get to watch them learn and see for themselves the order of life. Amazing!

All in all a chick was lost, but perspective was gained and played it's part in the big picture.

If your wondering, the rest of the chicks are doing GREAT! I'm serious, they are so fun to watch and the kids keep thanking me for getting them chicks. I will admit, I've had a little issue of their #2 sticking to their soft down feathers so I took it upon myself to rectify the situation. Instead of cleaning each bottom as it became messy, I decided to put a little vaseline on their hiney's so the said #2 couldn't stick. They were NOT happy when I did this, but they'll thank me later when I'm not wiping their booties with a warm cloth and clipping what won't come off with scissors. Is this to much info? I hope not because I even took pictures.

Oh yes...I did.

And, your welcome.

After the whole rear cleaning and slathering, my son Jude and I cleaned the brooder box, err trough. It actually wasn't that dirty, but rain is coming so I'd rather be cleaning it out on a sunny day than a rainy one. As you can see, my boy LOVES these chicks. Such a fun way to spend time with my lovey.

Looks better doesn't it? And sorry, the pictures should be swapped.

Reality can be hard to handle and reality can be joyous. I'm thankful that right now, my reality is a blessed one.


  1. I've been raising birds for quite a few years now and have lost my share. It's always heartbreaking.
    My order of chicks is due next week -- and I'm hoping they are all healthy.

    Loved your photos and philosophy.

    Visiting from the Barn Hop.

  2. Thank you for stopping by Nancy! It was such a bummer to lose a chick, but thankfully I've only lost one. :)

  3. Last summer we lost 4 out of 7 older chicks to a raccoon attack. It was devastating, but I learned something important that most people probably already knew: Barrel bolts are *easily* opened by raccoons. If a barrel bolt is used on a chicken coop, be sure it is the locking type that is used with a padlock securing the bolt in the closed position. An inexpensive padlock will do fine. That way, if you lose the key, it won't be too hard to cut off the lock.
    In an unrelated incident last summer, we lost another older cockerel in a pen that I mistakenly positioned next to a tree. A raccoon climbed down the tree and killed the cockerel. Hard lessons learned, but because of the extra security measures I haven't lost any more chickens even though I saw two raccoons trying to get into the coop one night last fall. They pulled out several feathers through the wire mesh but didn't injure the chickens. I have since installed 1/4-inch hardwire mesh over the 1-inch wire mesh and wired them together. Yes, we have an abundance of raccoons here, they want my chickens, and don't give up easily. Electric fencing is next, but since we use a chicken tractor, it's a little trickier because a grounding stake must be used.

  4. That's terrible! Thanks for telling me and I will keep the info in mind when we are putting the finishing touches on our chicken coop. We are getting the coup ready for when the chicks are big enough to live in it. I hope we don't lose any chickens to raccoons, but we also have a lot of those pesky critters around here. Guess we'll need to up the safety on our coup and have a shotgun ready!

  5. Thank you for sharing this post! I would love to have back yard chickens but we live in an unfenced rental house and a city which I believe doesn't allow back yard chickens.

    I have never raised chickens. I am an animal lover though and when you mentioned putting Vaseline on their tooshies to keep the #2 at bay I wondered "what if the little guys groom their tails and ingest some of the Vaseline". Perhaps this is a common practice, in which case ignore this note completely :)

    If it's not a common practice, I wonder if a cooking oil like coconut or olive oil or something natural like that could serve the same purpose but not upset their tummies and possibly make them a little ill.

    Just a thought. I hope it won't ruffle any feathers - lol - get the pun :)

    I'm over from the Homestead Barn Hop! Thanks again for the post. Your chicks are so cute!

  6. Thanks for stopping by!

    That is a good idea about using oil instead of vaseline. I didn't use too much and they didn't seem to mind, but I probably would try oil next time instead. Thanks for the suggestion. :) I am always open to them.

  7. Stopping by from the hop. Losing chicks is no fun, but like you said a reality of owning animals. A trick to help keep your waterer shaving free longer is to set it on a stable board. Just get it raised up an inch or two and the chicks won't be able to get the shavings in it so easily. Good luck

  8. Thanks for the tip. I just finished cleaning their brooder box again. I'll go and do that!

  9. It is likely your chick would have died anyhow. Sometimes when they're in the delivery box, they get trampled. They look like they're "okay" but in reality they have internal injuries. It sucks, and I mourn them every time it happens. We had a massive thunder and lightning storm one night after getting chicks a few years ago... They stampeeded around the container, and we lost ten or twelve of the darlings, all flat as pancakes by morning. :( There wasn't anything to do but clean up and carry on. I hate it, though. :(

  10. It's not a great reality, but a real one nonetheless. Thanks for stopping by!

  11. To take care of your #2 problem, you can put some organic oats in your blender and chop them up semi fine, then mix with equal parts course ground corn meal. Put a little dish of it into their brooder a couple times a day, enough where everyone gets some but they clean it up pretty quickly. This does not replace their usual diet, just a supplement so not too much. They may take a day or two to realize they want to eat it but soon they will be scrambling for it. Then toss in some green sprouts, alfalfa, clover or whatever you have. This will clear up your pasty butt problem and for future chicks stop it from happening. Good Luck!

  12. Thank you so much! This is great to know, we are past this problem now, but I'll definitely keep that in mind when we get more chicks in the future. :)

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