I have been raising chickens now for about four years. I wanted to raise chickens and enjoy the benefits of fresh eggs, and my kids experiencing some resemblance to farm life. Our first batch of chickens ended up being all roosters. I bought them at a store, and had no idea of the options out there. I did not realize that you could find a local farm and buy hens only. So we raised these roosters, and they were mean!!!! My kids were terrified to go in the backyard because these roosters would chase them around trying to peck at their feet. These roosters somehow disappeared. I honestly do not know where they went to. One by one, they were picked off by some predator, or escaped to terrorize another family.
That winter, I rescued a couple of dogs. One was abused, the other was found in a parking lot. They are wonderful dogs. So sweet, so loving and my kids absolutely love going in the back yard and playing with them. However, they have a taste for chickens. Found this out the hard way with our next batch of chickens. We figured out a way to make sure the chickens were safe and still had a place to semi free range, but not after some disturbing clean up.
I have slowly become better at raising chickens, but I am still not there yet. It takes a while. No matter how many books or websites I have read, I have found that nature is more brutal than I anticipated. Dogs, skunks, survival of the fittest. Chickens can be brutal to one another, and I found that out this week, when we purchased new chicks from a local farm. I got home and discovered that one baby chic was being ruthlessly trampled on and pecked at by the others. It had gotten wet, and could not get up. So I did something I have never done before, and that is save a baby chicks life. I held it, dried it, and even warmed it with a hair dryer. Did I do the right things? Probably not, but the chicken was saved. After about four hours of watching and holding, the baby began to open her eyes. The next day, she was up moving about, and by the end of the day, we were able to transfer back to her flock. She was strong, and pushed her way right to the front of the food line.
It was a small life, but so amazing to be a part of, and now I have a special place in my heart for this baby chic.
Have a great day everyone!