Backyard farming is fun and fulfilling. But there is a dark side. I have posted a few of my full fledged disasters. But these episodes are rare. More often the dark side is the day-to-day problems. For example, I was so excited about my new flock of different varieties of layers. However, I went out this morning to find two of them dead - a Black Australorp and a Delaware. What a disappointment! Another Black Australorp is limping. So the first job was quarantining the injured chicken from the rest so they wouldn’t pick it to death. Next was an informal autopsy of the dead layers to find the cause of death – picking up the limp, soiled, dead bodies and pulling back the feathers to look for body trauma – likely since the third one was limping. Yup, both had been killed. But it wasn’t traumatic - some minor scratches. There was a small hole under the wall of the coop - too big for a coon. It could possibly be a possum. But possums usually take a head or another part of the chicken or the whole chicken. Maybe the possum was chased away by these very flighty new layers before it could do more damage. Another possibility was that the layers were picked to death by the old layers that we have. I have had this happen before. I can’t be sure of the cause so I composted the dead layers, filed in the hole under the wall and harvested our three old layers. They were eating their eggs anyhow so it was their time to go. It amounted to an hour and half of unexpected and unpleasant work, washing my blood splattered Levis and shirt, and five, possibly six less layers than I had yesterday. Oh well, that is the dark side of backyard farming. I thank Heavenly Father for the “opposition in all things” to help me appreciate the good.
Dale with a Buff Orpington and an Araucana