The bitter and the sweet life

First of all the sweet.  We were gone for about a week, down in Southern California hanging out with three of our six grandkids (very sweet).

While we are gone, we leave the chickens locked up in their coop (to keep them safe) which also has an outdoor run.  While the run allows them to get outside, it is on the north side of the coop, so they don’t see much sun, and the rock hard dirt doesn’t yield up many tasty bugs.

So, when we get home and let them out, they run out to bathe – din the dirt.  This is what the foursome pictured above are doing. They just dig into the dirt and wiggle around in it and kick it up so it sprays all over them.

And, they soak up the sun.

More accurately, they just splay out and worship the sun. (The way I did as s a kid from Wisconsin visiting my Dad in California for the summers, which is why I now have sun spots, saggy skin and wrinkles, but that is a topic for another blog.)

It’s so wonderful to see our happy little chickens enjoying the best that life has to offer.

But, nature also has such a bitter side, which I still struggle with.

We lost two chickens in the last several days. One was the sibling of the little tyke pictured above.  After this one hatched, we checked under Daphne (Mommy hen) to see how the other egg was doing.  For the first time in the nine years we have had our chickens, we lifted up the egg to find that the chick had pecked out a little hole, and was still in the process of hatching.

We put the egg back under Mommy and came back the next day to find it hatched.  We put fresh water in the lid of a small jar in front of the new little family (as we always do), and left.  We returned hours later and found the second little chick dead in the little puddle of water.  This has never happened, and we were devastated.

Then, a few nights later, when we went to close up the chickens, we were short one rooster – Kirby.  We spent about 30 minutes searching all over the property for him.  It is very, VERY rare for a rooster to stay out.  A hen will occasionally stay out because she has decided to sit on a nest of eggs that she and the other hens have been laying in a secret hiding spot. If we lose a chicken to a predator, we usually find a pile of feathers.  But, no Kirby, no feathers, no clues.

The next day, I was walking around the property, checking on our plants and lo and behold, I found Kirby floating in a large empty planter we have outside on our patio that had accumulated about a foot of water from recent rains.  He had apparently fallen in and was unable to get out.  Again, this had never happened, and we were devastated.

And the sun is shining again today.


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