Monday, November 15, 2010

The Circle of Life

Farming has taught our family so many things we would never have learned had we stayed in the city.  After almost five years of educating ourselves about everything from how to milk a goat to how to butcher a turkey, we are fairly well-educated, family farmers.  One of the biggest lessons we have learned is more a reinforcement of sorts.  Clearly, even living in the city, we were well aware of the circle of life.  However, out here on our little farm that tenant of existence has been reinforced over and over again.  Where there is life, there also exists death.

Yesterday, we decided to go for a family hike - a rarity these days.  It was such a beautiful day and we really enjoyed exploring the glory of Northern Arizona.  As we re-entered the back of our property, a clutch of white feathers caught my eye.  Then I was struck by the absolute silence.  More and more feathers flooded my view.  While the goats seemed fine, there wasn't a rooster or chicken in sight.  Then the hunt began.  We started running around the property in search of the dead and hoping for survivors.  In the end, we found our rooster (hurt, but not critically), three alive hens, one dying hen, and three dead hens.  All that was left of the one hen we couldn't find was a drift of white feathers.

The least graphic photo I could take of the massacre.

We gathered up the survivors, relocated & reinforced their coop, and began the search for new chickens.   While losing poultry to predators is not uncommon, it stinks!  Although we do raise chickens for eggs and for meat, we pride ourselves on the fact that all of our poultry live free-range, happy lives.  Even our meat chickens have never lived in terror and it does upset me that these hens died horribly.  Also, we now must buy crappy eggs for the next few months!  

I did find new chickens and we will pick them up this Sunday.  In the meantime, I was gifted with a gorgeous green egg today by one of our survivors.......

Perfect, just perfect.