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.[1] Lack of cover means the hens can’t always avoid raptors – we have some pretty big (and beautiful) buzzards around here.[2]

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:

Our first young chicks

Chick with mother hen. You can just
see another black one on the side.

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…


[1] The cows are still our neighbors, and it’s pretty cool when you wake up in the morning and see a newborn calf…

[2] 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.

2 thoughts on “A Day in the Life

  1. Oh, Christian, you are far more philosophical than I am about the death part. From a very young age, my parents tried to get me to see that birth and death are part of Mother Nature’s cycle but I’ve always had a hard time with animals dying. I root for the underdog every darn time. Those chicks are adorable! What a lovely life you’re leading . . .

    1. Thanks, Kristine.
      I think farm animals, i.e. those that are not around for pure companionship, make you more philosophical about the death part. When we moved here, we briefly fostered a (very old) dog, and when he died in our care, I was devastated. The chickens are a different category – I dote on the chicks, take care of the adults, but in the end, we have them for the eggs and (yes, I admit it) the meat at some point.
      I know there are a bunch of ethical discussions to have around this – maybe topic for another post at some point…:-)

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