Birth and death are a part of life, and especially of living on a (kind of) homestead. I didn’t mention the exact number of chickens on the About page because it fluctuates. End of last year we had a dozen laying hens and a rooster. Then age, illnesses and predators happened, cutting them down to 6+1. The area they can roam is huge (about 2,000 square meters, i.e. half an acre). There isn’t a lot of cover – before we moved here, it was a pasture for cows. Lack of cover means the hens can’t always avoid raptors – we have some pretty big (and beautiful) buzzards around here.
As I said, birth and death are a part of life. We do our best to minimize the deaths, but if they happen, we take them in stride. On the other hand, we do try to provide for births, too. And here they are:
Two options – the first were chicks hatched in an incubator, the second one the natural way. The natural way is much cuter, of course – but you don’t always have a willing mother hen when the time is right. This year, we had both!
So currently, we are back to 9 hens, and when the current batch sitting in my office shows us which gender each one is, a few more. Unfortunately, I found one of the chicks dead this morning – the unseasonal heat has been hard on everyone.
As I said, death is part of life on a homestead. And as a writer, it gives you things to think about…
 The cows are still our neighbors, and it’s pretty cool when you wake up in the morning and see a newborn calf…
 We are planting trees, of course, both for protection and shade, but they take a while – and have to be protected from the animals, too.