We are slowly trying to build on our sustainable lifestyle, and as you all know we have chickens. Well the last couple of weeks have been very difficult. We recently hatched out our first set of eggs in late June. Last week 6 of the 7 that we had were attacked and eaten out of the coop. We secured what we thought was the weak spots on the coop and run and the next day we discovered that we were wrong and there were other weak areas that needed to be fixed...and lost 3 laying hens.
While fixing the coop Matt had to chase down a fox in early afternoon that decided to grab one of our hens and try to run off with it. The story of the fox actually has a funny side...our cat chased down the fox too when he saw Matt going after it! Kind of unbelievable, and I wish I had been able to see that. He is a really cool cat, a great mouser, and squirrel hunter! But chasing down a fox...that's pretty cool.
For now we have fixed the weak spots and the chickens are protected again, the one chick we have left has a new friend to keep it company until they are big enough to go into the coop with the others, and we have more eggs in the incubator getting ready to begin a new life. It is really hard to lose chickens, from a financial standpoint, because of all the time, care, energy, food, etc, that we put into raising them, but also because even though they are livestock and have a purpose we really do love them and they each have a distinct personality and being able to watch them grow and provide for us is a really wonderful and enduring trait. Each one is named, each one is loved and each one is remembered.
In the last few weeks we have also been talking about adding goats, probably just 2, to help with the brush, overgrowth and neglect of the property. We have been here for almost 4 years now and clearing out our overgrown woods is proving to be a very daunting task. We keep toying with the idea of getting help of the furry sort, but losing goats would be so much harder to deal with than losing our chickens. There are so many issues, like fencing, a guard dog, keeping our pets/animals in our yard, keeping other animals out of our yard, and doing it all without killing them or having something kill ours. It is a balance, just like everything else in life.I don't know what it is about this year, I have seen more wild animals this year than ever before, hawks, owls, squirrels, rabbits, deer, fox...I love nature and love that all these animals are hanging around our house, and woods. It is great to know that our woods are alive. We even have a honey tree! I want to respect and preserve the balance that we have, but I also want to be able to control what lives here.
So in the spirit of balance we have decided to re-home these guys when we catch them instead of killing them. There is a wonderful National Forest not far from our home with lots and lots of place for them to live happily...and I don't feel guilty of cutting his life short.