Thursday, March 21, 2013

Catastrophe, Compassion and Kindness

I live in a house full of males.  Despite this fact, we have sure had a lot of CHICK DRAMA lately.  Let me explain.

We have chickens.  Ten to be exact.  We became "chicken owners" about 2 years ago.  Click HERE to read about how our middle son added chickens into our home life.

While we currently own 10 chickens, we've actually owned 17 chickens total over the past few years. Never all alive at once though sadly.

My elementary school age son has been learning about ratios at school lately.  Here's our ratio related info on how many chickens we've managed to keep alive and in our yard -
Ratio of living chickens in our yard to total chickens: 10:17, Fraction: 10/17, Percent: 59%.

My teenager point out to me that our statistics stink.  (Teenagers can be blunt!)  Did I mention that we do have 8 very healthy full-grown chickens and 2 baby chicks that are still alive?  Let's look at the positive side folks, right?

To be fair, chickens are hard to raise from when they are baby chicks.  Some don't do fair well from the trip from farm to store.  Some don't tolerate the weather.  Some get attacked.  Here's what happened to the 8 chickens that are no longer in our yard:
Chicken #1 (Ren) - Thought it was a hen, but it was a rooster.  He went to live somewhere else. Hopefully still alive but we don't know.  This was the chicken who started it all.
Chicken #2 (Dotty) - Died at a young age for no apparent reason.  Most likely the desert heat.
Chicken #3 (Mally Mo) - Died when full grown from the heat while we were out of town.  My poor mom had to dispose of it.  (Buried in the trash can)
Chicken #4 (Bren) - Killed as a baby chick by a dog when we were dog-sitting.
Chicken #5 (Snowball) - Killed as a baby chick by the same dog.
Chicken #6 (Maisy Marilla) - Killed by an unknown predator who snuck into our coop.
Chicken #7 (Hester Prynne) - Killed the next night allegedly by the same predator.

This brings me to our current chick drama situation.  My junior high age son wanted two chickens for his birthday.  So we took him to the store at the end of February and he picked out Chicken #6 and Chicken #7.  They were so cute and little and fluffy.  We named them.  He cuddled and carried them every day and loved them so much.  We even brought them to the elementary school to show the students in his little brother's class.

So on Tuesday when I went out to take care of the chickens, I noticed Chicken #6 was missing.  I thought she might be hiding someplace.  By evening we were quite worried though.  We searched the neighborhood thinking she may have escaped from our yard.  No baby chick.  We posted it on facebook.  No luck.

Chicken #7 kept wandering the coop looking for her lost friend.  My son kept wandering around looking for his lost chick.  The whole thing was just so sad.  But it was about to get sadder.  On Wednesday morning I got up really early to go check if the lost chick had returned.  It hadn't.

Then I realized that Chicken #7 was missing too.  My had a pit in my stomach when I had to go break the news to my son.

As you can imagine, my junior high son was devastated.  He couldn't pull out of the miserable funk he was in.  I commented on my facebook post that the second chicken was now missing.  One of our kind neighbors felt so awful for my son that she went out and purchased two new young chicks for him.  That act of kindness and compassion helped heal his hurt heart.  As a mom, I am so grateful to our friend who took the time and effort to purchase these little chickens to comfort my son.  I wish everyone in the world was as caring and other-centered as this friend and I am striving to be like that.  What a great example and I'll use her as a "good object lesson" many times in the future, I'm sure.

So now we are moving on and hoping and praying that these chickens aren't attacked by predators (cats, hawks, coyote, or whatever).  The coop has been reinforced and we're hoping our new chickens run faster than Chickens #6 & 7 did.

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