Keeping Chickens…the end.

It’s hard for me to write this post. Keeping chickens is one of the things that I dearly love about homesteading. I love their little personalities. We don’t eat a lot of eggs so keeping chickens is something different for me. They become part of the family. At least for me they do. The Mister doesn’t love them but he understands how much I love them. But then things happen. They fight. They don’t get along. They pick on each other. Some have to go to freezer camp which happened last year. Then they get picked off by hawks, or other predators. Which happened to Pecky McPeckerson. And recently to Elsie. It happened the day before we were to leave for the Cape. I was out mowing on the big tractor right next to where they like to hide and scratch up the dirt. Right in front of the house. Right next to the front door. And people were milling about. A hawk attacked, and killed, Elsie. It took forever to find the other girls. They were so scared and were hiding in the bushes. We rounded up the girls and put them back in the chicken coop and chicken run. They would not come out of the coop for fear something would attack them. I don’t blame them. It had to be tragic for them. To watch their friend die. And so needlessly at that. But we left for vacation anyway. And I worried. But they seemed fine. Until we got home and I noticed Little Girl was doing her hunched up thing that she does when she’s laid an internal egg. Plus she’s molting. As was Clare E. Clare. All during vacation I was trying to decide what was best for the remaining three girls. I don’t have the capacity to keep just three girls. There’s no way for me to heat a coop built for 10 chickens and keep it warm enough for just 3 girls. They will never be able to free range on their own again, unless I want a hawk to attack them. I let them out when we got back from vacation and I literally had to stand right in front of them because the hawk reappeared within 10 minutes. No kidding. And I am at the end of being able to nurse sick chickens back to good health only to have them get sick again. Laying internal eggs is a death sentence for any chicken. Elsie was an internal egg layer but her body would go into a molt in order for her not to lay the eggs. Little Girl’s wouldn’t. She would get sick and need to be put on antibiotics more and more frequently. So I made the decision that I have been dreading. The girls are gone now. I don’t want to know any details. But it was the best decision. They weren’t going to make it. And people don’t want sick chickens. Or chickens that don’t lay eggs. Clare hasn’t laid an egg in about a year. That’s my best guesstimate.

This is a pictureless post. I can’t bring myself to post any pics of the chickens. If you want to see pics just look back through  my blog. In all honesty I have been separating myself from the girls for some time. I knew the end was drawing near, I just didn’t expect to come so soon or so suddenly. I haven’t been taking pictures of them for some time now in order to distance myself. I barely cried when Elsie died. But yesterday was hard. Yesterday I made a decision as a homesteader, not a chicken lover.

I know some of you may judge me for this. But please keep it to yourself. I am taking a break from social media while I figure out the next steps. This decision has brought up a ton of emotions for me. Emotions that scream at me that I’m not doing everything I can to live my best life. I’ve always been very sensitive to other people and their emotions. I know when someone is upset, jealous, happy, etc. And I’ve let some negative things into my life that I am no longer willing to let in. I can’t be a friend to someone who is constantly taking from me and not giving in return. Someone who allows their jealousy to get the better of them and break other people down. I can’t keep making the same mistakes over and over again and thinking things will turn out differently (that’s the definition of insanity right?!?!). So as I move forward there are a few things I need to get straight. First, who can be in my life on a regular basis, as a friend. Second, what is healthy for me-both mentally and physically. I’m nowhere I need to be physically. I’ve let my emotions, and the negative emotions of others, affect me. I can’t allow this to happen anymore. I need to live my life according to what is best for me. Third, I want to learn things about homesteading in order to be a homesteader but I haven’t been doing that. I don’t know why. Too much time on my hands? Too lazy? Letting things affect me to the point of not being able to do things? Probably a combo of all these things. Over the weekend we were visiting with friends, dear friends, who are all super fantastic and so supportive. We were talking about how one takes something on and learns all about it and really dives deep into things. That’s what I’m missing. I’m just skimming the surface of things and not really learning anything. So I need to figure out what I really want to know, be an expert at, if you will, and then dive deep into that thing. Or things. One thing at a time I think is best. Fourth, I need to be more giving and generous to those I love. I have been so stingy because I feel like for the past few years I’ve given in all the wrong places and have been drained. Mentally, physically, emotionally. Fifth, finances. Enough said. Stop spending money. Save money. No Spend August was a success (I know, I still owe you all a post about it). We are embarking on a No Spend Winter. No spending for the rest of October now that vaca is over. No Spend November. December. January. February. You get the point. I have a budget already set with firm plans. I just need to put it on paper and then we’re all set. I have a couple of bills left to pay before we start the No Spend Winter.

I know one day I will be in the position to keep chickens again. Or maybe I get too attached to them and I’ll decide it’s not for me. But for now I miss my girls but know it was the right decision. Keep me in your thoughts as I move forward with my new normal. Telling myself, and the Mister, no is hard. I want to do what I want to do, but that’s not really getting me to where I really want to be. And right now that’s my focus. Letting go of the past, and the negative, and facing the future knowing what I want, and need, to do.

11 thoughts on “Keeping Chickens…the end.

    1. Thanks Elizabeth! It’s been a rough patch with the girls. But I know it’s for the best. I started a new PT job so I’m only around on the weekends. Email me your schedule…and yes, let’s get together! It’s been too long!

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  1. 😞 We’re at that point with our girls too. They have one by one gotten sick with the same ailments and slowly died. We only have 4 left, and now they’re all showing symptoms. So sorry for your loss! It’s so hard when we know their little personalities and quirks.

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    1. It is so hard! I have loved watching each of the girls develop their personalities. But it’s been a really hard 2.5 years. I chalk it up to them being hatchery birds. I hope to start again one day with chicks from a local farm/homestead. But I need to work on some things first before I get to that point. I will dearly miss having chickens but am hopeful for the future. I’m sorry that you are having such a hard time too. It’s really disappointing having to make these kinds of decisions or to watch helpless animals suffer.

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  2. I am so sorry to hear about your girls. I know you are on a journey to find the best way to live your life and listen to your heart. It’s never easy. Sometimes the most important decisions are the most difficult. Whatever direction you go next, let your heart lead you. Not other people’s opinions, not the tyranny of the ‘shoulds’, not societies ‘norms’, but what you know deep down in your heart/soul, the direction that you truly want to go. Until your next post, take care of you. – mrs. mother dirt ❤

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    1. Thank you so much for this. It means a lot. Really. I finally feel like I’m on the right journey. I know there will bumps along the way but I finally feel at peace. I miss the girls but I know I’ll have chickens again one day. Thank you again ❤️❤️

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  3. You are doing what you need for your own best interest and you should never worry about what anyone else thinks about THAT. Keep doing what makes you feel good about YOUR journey. I’m pulling for you and sending good thoughts your way 😊

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    1. Thank you Leona. The past few weeks have been hard. And eye opening. And good. All at once. I’m finally able to be at peace with a lot of things, including my decision to give up chickens for now. Thank you friend!!

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