Unglorified Side of Farm Life
Kevin Felts 04.25.17
A few days ago there were some feathers near the chicken house. From past experience it was obvious what had happened. The feathers were in a line starting around 40 feet from outside the fence and going back towards the chicken yard. This is usually what happens when a dog chases a chicken.
There were not a “lot” of feathers and the chicken was nowhere to be found. I walked around and did not see anything, so I went on about my business. Later that evening I looked through the flock and did not see anyone who was hurt.
Sometimes a dog will grab a chicken, pull out some feathers, then let the chicken go. I figured this is what had happened. The next day I found the injured chicken in the house, one leg had been broken. There was only one thing to do, and that was to put the chicken out of its misery.
There was no use in shaming the dog, as it was not caught in the act.
I use to get very upset when one my dogs would kill a chicken. After a couple of years you grow numb to it. The dog in question is a new addition to the family and is around 6 months old. At that age they just want to chase something and have fun.
In the past couple of weeks I have lost one chicken and two chicks. Out of the dozen chicks that were bought two months ago, only around 6 are still alive.
It is not just a dog that kills chickens, sometimes an opossum will get into the chicken house, sometimes a hawk will kill a chicken and sometimes they will just die. It is not uncommon to find a dead chicken that was overcome by the heat in July or August.
Farm life seems like an act of futility. Seeds are planted and sometimes nothing grows. Buy a bunch of chicks, only for something to kill them.
I had a couple of peach and plum fruit trees on the property. They were couple of years old and just died. The year before they were nice looking trees that bore fruit. They next year, they were dead.
When I was around six years old, mom and dad were renting a house that had a barn and several acres of land. Dad bought a couple of cows, one of which gave birth. The calf died a few days after being born.
Awhile back I was talking to a husband and wife who raised horses. I asked what happened when a horse dies. They told me they bring in a backhoe, dig a large hole and bury the horse.
Not for Quitters
One thing is for sure, farm life is not for quitters. If someone gives up after a couple of setbacks, this lifestyle is not for them.
I live on a small farm and face a few issues from time to time. My hat goes off to the people who manage large farms with dozens or even hundreds of livestock.
Coyote killed a goat? You do not sell all your goats, you take care of the coyote.
Fruit trees died? Plant more.
You have to keep moving forward and not get discouraged.