Saying Goodbye
Chickens, Faith, Homestead Reflections

Saying Goodbye

Sometimes, bad things happen.  It’s a risk we all take in our day to day, but a risk that seems heightened on the homestead.  When you invest so much of yourself into your land and your animals, it becomes heart breaking when things go wrong.

All homesteaders have been there – it’s one of the things we all share.  For us it was the loss of five chickens.

Our very first farm animals arrived on April 9th 2014.  I had circled the date on the calendar and waited with heightened anticipation.  The day finally arrived and at noon we headed over to our local TSC store, where there was a box of thirteen fuzzy chicks waiting for us.  We had ordered twelve (they usually always send an extra in case one dies during shipping), several weeks earlier and now they were finally here. We had a cozy brooder box waiting for them at home and as I picked each tiny baby up out of the cardboard box, I checked her over.  All baby chicks were alert and healthy looking.  We had not lost any of the babies during shipping.

Time flew by and they grew like weeds. I also became more and more attached to them.  They were so tiny, and my cat looked so hungry.  I, perhaps, mothered them a bit too much in the first few weeks that they lived inside.


They transitioned to the coop outside very well, and although I knew we had raccoons, we never had any problems with them getting in the coop.

Until we moved. 

We moved from a farm house in a wide open field, to a little cottage in the woods. We had brought our original coop with us when we moved (that was nothing short of a miracle, moving that heavy thing), and did not expect any problems.  Sadly our coop had one major flaw.  A tiny 3 inch by 4 inch window in the upper right hand corner. Never underestimate a raccoon. Where we originally lived the coop was out in the open and perhaps didn’t offer enough cover for the coons to bother with it.  But here in the middle of the woods there was lots of cover for a sneaking raccoon.

May you never have to open up your coop and see that.

Somehow we did not loose all of our girls. We only lost five that day.  That was a bloody day.  Lives were lost, I ordered the end of a creature’s life, and many many tears were shed. I asked God why over and over again, first in pure heart break, and again in anger. What I came out of that experience with is this: God is in control.  He can give and take away as He pleases.  Does he want to hurt me? Not at all.  But He knows the good that will come from it, even if I don’t.  I might not ever know.

The remaining girls called and called for their fallen comrades.  That was probably the hardest thing: watching them look for their lost sisters, and hearing them call out for them.  But they forget, and we have a fantastic close knit group of girls now.

They lived in our sun porch for several weeks until a new “barn” was built.  We were preparing for the arrival of our goats and needed a new building anyways.  Our old coop is still standing, almost like a memorial to what we went through. If we boarded  up the window and cut out all the bloody boards and roosts it would still be usable, but our new barn is better looking, and sturdier, and offers me a better nights sleep.

What it all comes down to is this: there is life and there is death. We homesteaders say we want to get back to the land and back to nature, and unfortunately the circle of life is also part of that rhythm. Thank the good Lord for what he has provided for you today, even if you don’t feel blessed.    

Linked with: The Homestead Barn Hop
 

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