Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Chicken existenz

.....Spent the morning, as I've been doing every Wednesday now for awhile, harvesting and arranging flowers with Eden for the local CSA. So many gorgeous ones, including a couple of flowers that just became ready this week -- tithonia (Mexican Sunflower) and giant princess asters. We harvested a bunch of sunflowers this week, more than usual.

I've decided to start sleeping out of doors more. I'm gonna sleep near the flower/herb garden so that if I'm up for it, I can spend a little time working in there when I wake up each morning. Sukey, my cat, has accompanied me out there and slept with me. One trouble I've been having is how hard the ground is, and how unused to sleeping on hard surfaces I am. I've been reading a book on health/nutrition, however, and the author recounts how she had read that sleeping on hard surfaces is much healthier, and that she herself only got out of the habit of sleeping on cushy beds thru a month-long backpacking trip she took in the Cascades, where she slept on the ground each night. Now she feels uncomfortable on soft beds and totally at home on hard surfaces. She said it took her about a week of the backpacking trip to get used to it. So I want to try it and see how I feel. It's a good litmus test to see if living in a wigwam would be good for me. Not that I couldn't sleep on a soft futon or something inside a wigwam, but the living outdoors part would be very similar.

One of our chickens hatched some of her eggs -- an anomaly here, since we normally eat all the eggs. It's been wonderful seeing her, with five or six little chicks scuttling around after her. Today I was applying wood finish to the barn and saw one of the chicks lying motionless near me, far away from the mother. Eden and I spent time looking for the mom, and couldn't find her, so I kept the chick near me while I painted. The chick was mostly still, although it followed me somewhat as I made my way down the side of the barn, peeping. Very sweet. It was distressing to see this chick looking so forlorn though, so I tried feeding it, and found out from Matt where the mother was nesting with her chicks, which is behind the barn. Also I noticed that the chick had a wound on her bottom. She wasn't getting around like the other chicks do. Anyway, Eden then tried tending to her wouund, bathing it in warm water and feeding it a bit. But it didn't seem to be working. So Ryan killed it, to put it out of it's misery, and since the mother was not taking any interest in it. It was very sad, and Ryan didn't want to talk when I asked him how he had killed the chick. We've been watching the old animated version of Charlotte's Web, which is a great movie, and somehow I kept thinking of it as I thought about the chick, because it's all about saving a runt pig that the farmer doesn't value. Matt got upset about the wounded chick and wondered if we should be taking care of chickens at all, since we don't know really how to care for them; the mother and her chicks are outside of the coop at night -- prime prey for animals in the area, and Matt couldn't corner the mother and children in order to move them to the coop. He felt like alot of other farmers with experience would know what to do, and that we shouldn't bother raising them if we can't deal with situations like these. It's a natural way to react to a situation like this.

And that's it. Just checkin' in.....

3 comments:

sarah said...

I'm so sorry about the chick--it is so hard to bare these little losses when all we want is to let things grow. Maybe you guys need a chicken mentor? Everyone has to learn things they don't know--how does matt think the 'more expereinced farmer' got that way?

Danny Farmboy said...

hey sarah,

-- thanks for the response. yes, it's hard to take, those little losses. but that is life out in the country, or for anyone who takes care of animals. i have a beautiful cat named sukey who i love, and i know it will be difficult to part with her when she goes. a chicken mentor sounds smart. i assume there are lots of them around here......

sarah said...

But of course! You are in chicken-mentor country!