Miracles and Loss Raising Poultry


| 11/3/2020 10:05:00 AM


 


Close up of white silkies

The life of a farmer is never without interesting stories. Being deep in the bush, some of my own stories involve bears, fishers, hawks and snakes. Many of them concern death and destruction by predators. But I’ve also witnessed the miracle of new life: with every egg that hatches. A few magical things happened this past summer.

I had not raised chickens for a couple of years. I had taken time off to write a book. The book was done in the spring, and I was reconnecting to my somewhat neglected cabin and 6 ½-acre hobby farm. My coop was empty. I needed chickens. I also had work to do. I had gutted my coop two years prior, in order to redesign it. Now I needed to finish it. I needed to finish it quick!

Word had just hit that a serious virus was spreading around the globe. I called my breeder and ordered some chickens and guinea fowl. Choice was already limited. Not all the hens were old enough to lay. Some birds seemed older than expected. I didn’t get a purebred Silkie hen, which would almost guarantee a good broody hen. Still, I had enough birds to possibly breed a good flock for next year, and I had fresh eggs. I was back into farming. I had a sustainable food source and the opportunity to grow it.



A Broody Hen Goes Missing

My chickens free-range a bit except in the winter. I tend to let all my birds run wild for a couple of hours in the afternoon, in good weather. They usually lay their eggs in the morning. I noticed that a few guinea fowl hens were running to a certain spo each time I let them out. One day, one hen didn’t come back.  I wondered if she might be sitting on a nest. Two days later, the male and another hen went missing. This was likely a predator. I was down three birds and 70 dollars. I only had two guinea hens left. The birds were on lockdown.





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