Avoiding Farm Failure

| 8/30/2017 9:33:00 AM

Tags: chickens, homesteading, casualties, Anna Twitto, Israel,

A few days ago, my husband started his car, preparing to drive out. Our front yard has full sun in the mornings, and the chickens often find a shady retreat under the car, but always scatter in panic at the first sound of the engine. This time, however, one of the chickens - whether suicidal or simply too zen to move - remained where she was. 

You can guess what happened. Eeeeek. 

My husband ran for the shovel, hoping to get the deed done before I notice anything, but alas, this was not to be. I poked my head out of the door to remind him of something before he goes.  

I felt really sorry for my poor neighbors, who only just moved in a week or so earlier. I'm sure they didn't expect to hear such a blood-curdling screech so early in the morning. I whipped up a cake and went for a nice neighborly visit later, and they were very friendly, but I could tell they looked at me weird.

Homestead living is full of casualties. Chickens die. Chicks don't make it out of the egg. A frost or a draught wipes out a vegetable garden. Unseasonable hail knocks down unripe fruit. The longer you are at this thing, the surer you can be that something won't go as planned. And the only way to gear up for it and last in the game is to plan for losses (practically, emotionally, financially), and decide you will stick to it. 

Some losses can be devastating, and really make you feel like it isn't even worth it to try again. We know people who have bought some very expensive purebred chickens for breeding stock, and have become extremely discouraged by a few unsuccessful turns of running the incubator. They are now planning to sell their stock, though when eggs don't hatch successfully there's often plenty of room for improvement (from using fresher eggs to monitoring temperature and humidity more closely). They are too stung by their experience to go on. 

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