September 6, 2017
Our new hens laid their very first egg! This home is really starting to feel like a farm. The chickens know us and get so excited when we bring them scraps to eat. The girls really feel like it is their "job" to take care of them. We waste so much less food, as every edible scrap goes right back to nourishing our sweet hens and making eggs! I said "new" hens, because last week I came home from a day out, only to find that two stray dogs killed all of our chickens, including our beautiful rooster. We lost 9 chickens that day and it was pretty discouraging, as we (my husband especially!) put so much hard work into providing the right environment, food, etc to keep our hens healthy as they matured. They were probably only a few days away from starting to lay! That same weekend, we also had a very sweet, abandoned cat that came meowing over one night. She is the sweetest kitty and obviously loves people. She is all black, which made me think that she may have belonged to someone but was given up. We quickly realized she was pregnant, and that while we lost 9 lives, we gained (at least) 9 more! We will be keeping her as a barn cat, and getting her and her babies fixed when they are old enough. She came by this morning to eat her breakfast and was no longer pregnant! I cannot seem to find where she delivered her little ones, but I'm hoping she will bring them to us so we can help them out. After having to explain to the girls that all of our chickens went to heaven, and imagining my poor chickens in that brutal moment, we decided to get an electric fence to keep the next batch safe. It was an investment, but now I have the peace of mind to know that any animal - whether it is a dog, fox, etc., will be greatly deterred from eating the poor hens! I would highly recommend any products from PremierOne. It is a very well made netting that is electrified by a battery that is solar powered. We have 100 feet of fence that my husband set up in a circle around our coop, so that gives our chickens 795 square feet to roam. That is roughly 60 sq foot per bird, and we will move them every few days to give them a new patch of ground to explore and forage. I guess that is farm life. Some days you lose lives, some days you gain. In the end, it's all about learning, growing, and venturing out into something new. You are constantly thrust outside of your comfort zone, only to find that the borders in which you've confined your ideas may have been too stringent in the first place. We hated to lose our chickens so senselessly, but in the end, the girls and I will have to learn that animals will come and go. The only thing we can try to ensure is that every day they live on my farm is a good day. Fall is in the air, and we have a lot on our to-do list before winter! My husband will be working on building a hoop house/greenhouse for our chickens and pigs to live in during the winter. We are also hoping to get a puppy, and harvest lots of veggies from the fall garden before the first frost. I have already successsfully harvested some tomatoes, zucchini, kale, and lettuce. Stay tuned for more updates, and thanks for following along!