It’s strange the things that have become normal, while I’m still generally in awe of my fantastic situation and blessed life. I still appreciate walking up the farm driveway, seeing the chickens run out towards me, hearing the roosters crow, and the like; all simple things. Those will never get old.
Yesterday when I opened up the barn, I cleaned out Helga’s old nest and there was a partially hatched egg with a dead, developed duckling that was quite rotten. I took it out and threw it into the unused field.
Outside the barn, there was a sheep nose, covered in small, withering maggots, which I didn’t want my chickens digesting, so I grabbed a broken pitchfork and tossed that into unused field too.
With all of the life on my farm comes death as well, and with all of the joy comes sadness, and I’m learning not to focus on the sadness. My chicken Elvis, a beautiful barred rock likely-cock that I hatched from one of my late beautiful barred rock hens, is going to die soon. Whenever I see him, I smile and pat him and give him treats and hope that the remainder of his life is as enjoyable as possible.
I’m still learning to cope with the tragedies, and doing better, but it takes time. When I found my baby Boer goat dying from bloat, I was too sick and weak to be able to carry it back to my house right away. I had to sit on the grass and breathe for some time, I thought I was going to pass out. But I made it, and did everything I could to help him with bloat, and he lived for longer than we thought he would.
After that there was the debate of who should bury him. Technically he wasn’t my goat, he belonged to the owners of the property (who drove from an hour away to help me with the Boer as soon as they could) and they didn’t have much time to spare. In the end, a few days later, I ended up electing Brother Jon’s help and buried him. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be, and a lot grosser, and I still feel a little sick thinking about it so I try not to. It was all very sad, so I try to remember that I’m now better equipped to prevent and deal with a similar situation if it ever unfortunately happens again.
On a lighter note, I had a spider come from my hair and begin building a web literally in front of my eyes. I felt bad for the little spider as he was quite small so I just moved him and broke my own rule of allowing insects (and insect-like creatures, such as arachnids) in my house. Ant bites are no big deal anymore, they’re a regular part of chicken farming. I walk through spider webs on a daily basis and even climb heights for my chickens.
In the end, I think chicken farming is turning me into a stronger, more capable person, and I hope that I don’t lose sight of all of the happiness around me because if I was to look for negative things in my life, I could certainly find lots. Happiness outweighs sadness here, but only if I keep a positive outlook on life.