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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Murder at Hedgeapple Creek

...or was it?


1. Law. the killing of another human being under conditions specifically covered in law. In the U.S., special statutory definitions include murder committed with malice aforethought, characterized by deliberation or premeditation or occurring during the commission of another serious crime, as robbery or arson (first-degree murder), and murder by intent but without deliberation or premeditation (second-degree murder).
2. Slang. something extremely difficult or perilous: That final exam was murder!
3. a group or flock of crows.
–verb (used with object)
4. Law. to kill by an act constituting murder.
5. to kill or slaughter inhumanly or barbarously.

Depends on how much you want to stretch the definition. OK, it wasn't a human being, but it was calculated, and it was extremely difficult. Well, no... it was physically easy; but it was mentally difficult. It's always difficult, but it's part of life on a farm. It was not a flock of crows. Yet, it was definitely not inhumane or barbarous!

If you don't want to read about the downside of life with farm animals, then stop here; but if you've ever fancied having a mini-farm with a few chickens, then you might as well be prepared.

'Angel Wings' is what I called the chick. She was so beautiful - light red changing to brilliant white. When her wings were spread in the sunlight, she looked as though she was ready to soar through the heavens. If ever a chicken was beautiful, it was Angel Wings. (dirty, nasty birds)
She was one of the tamer birds. Angel Wings stood out from the others, as she grew more beautiful every day. She stood out in another way though, that wasn't a good thing...

Hubby was out gathering eggs when we heard a ruckus. One of the black hens was screeching. Hubby looked to see Angel Wings' rear sticking up from a nest. She sat up and looked at him with egg dripping from her beak. She was eating the egg. She had already acquired the taste. According to the books Hubby has studied, once a hen acquires the taste for eggs, there's no turning back. It must be destroyed. I'm not going to tell about that.

Reality isn't always pretty on a farm. You must keep in mind the purpose of raising chicks. If you want them as pets, then have them. Fine. On the other hand, if you want them for eggs, then it's a whole different thing. Luckily, I'm not fond of birds. Oh sure, the finches at the feeder are pretty and fun to watch; but as pets?

My mom has parakeets. They're nasty. When I'm over there, I do let them hop onto my finger and I talk to them. I'm not an animal hater... but I would never have them in my house. If something happens to Mom, someone else better take the birds. OK, I've gotten off track...

We have a lot invested in the chickens. Selling eggs will never pay for it all. (Hubby went a little overboard on the chicken house. He tends to do that.) We do hope that selling the extra eggs will pay for the daily expense of keeping the chickens. We prefer to eat things that are not tainted with hormones and pesticides. Aside from dusting for mites, our chickens are all natural and cage free. That's the ironic part...

Chances are, if our birds were caged on a big poultry farm, Angel Wings would have never had the chance to taste an egg. She wouldn't have access to them. I imagine there is a mechanism to roll the eggs away from the cage as soon as it is laid. Nobody's going to reach under thousands of chickens all day long checking for eggs!

With free range chickens, they share nests. Even with empty nests available, we've watched one hen wait until the other hen is finished and vacates the nest; then she jumps in for her turn. Then go in and out as they please. They roam the fenced area looking for bugs in the ground and whatever else chickens do. We feel they must be satisfied with the size of the area, since we know they can fly out anytime they please. (No, we haven't clipped their wings.) The entire area under the ten-by-twenty house is elevated and open, so they can go under for shade or to get out of the rain without having to go back inside. We feel our chickens have it pretty good; but like I said, in a caged environment, Angel Wings would still be with us.

So, if you've thought about raising a few chickens in order to enjoy your own fresh eggs, does this make you reconsider?

On a much happier note... Hubby's final count on the corn: 250 ears in the freezer!


Rae said...

That had to be difficult. I don't imagine it is ever easy, but life goes on with farm living and some things are necessary. I wonder if you had been raised on a farm if it would have seemed more matter of fact. On the bright side you have a nice amount of corn in the freezer. That will be really tasty in the winter.

DJan said...

Thanks for shielding me from what happened to Angel Wings. But of course I know, and I figure she might be a bad egg, but I sure hope she tastes good! :-0

Yeah, I like farm life as long as I get to read about it and not live it...

Jan Mader said...

Even though I know that's what farm life is about, I stay in a bubble and pretend it doesn't happen...even though I know it must.

I AM glad to hear about all your corn. That's the part of farm life that leaves a good taste in my mouth...no pun intended!

AL said...

This morning my friend and I were talking about how I want to raise chickens just because I wanted eggs. But I know raising chickens is not as easy as ABC...you have to consider a lot of things like what you have said. Thanks I am learning a lot.


Joei said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog..I love my little dwarfs...

about angel wings your right when you said that she's a nasty bird,
poor little eggs that been destroyed by her... (sigh)


Rae said...

My dear friend,
Please stop by my blog to pick up an award.

SquirrelQueen said...

Being raised in a farm environment, we had cows and my grandmother raised pigs and chickens, I grew up seeing all the ups and downs of raising animals. Such is live on a farm.

Sorry to take so long to get over, I've had a serious case of racing-lag. Very similar to jet lag and I'm just now getting caught up on sleep and feeling a little more energetic.

grammy said...

You gotta do what you gotta do (o:
I came over from The Weather Vane. I am sure I have seen you before (on comments maybe) but I like your farm background here.
When my Mother passed away I inherited her cat. Never say never (o: