Learning From Loss and Counting our Blessings Out at Our Happy Homestead

It’s chick hatching season out at Whit’s Acres, and with it has come a month full of anticipation, expectation, stress, life and loss.

egg on new straw

Each time we hatch a new batch of chicks, I’m reminded just how fragile and precious life is.

I am always amazed at the privilege and responsibility we have to help bring new life into this world.

It doesn’t always go as planned.

Sometimes things go wrong.

Life and death decisions are made.

Lessons are learned.

New insight and understanding is gained.

I think there’s something inside of just about every human being that says, “If there’s something I can do to save a life, I have to try!”

Yet, there is truth in the way of nature.  I know.

Out of the eleven eggs that were viable in our incubator, we have five brand new healthy, happy, incredibly cute chicks — now that’s something to celebrate!

five new chicks

On the other hand, six of the baby chicks didn’t make it.  Four died in their shells.   The other two?  Well,   I couldn’t just stand by and watch them struggle hour after hour, not being able to push out of their shell.

Oh, I’d read all of the books and forum posts that said to “Never help a chick that is struggling to hatch out of its shell — if it can’t make it out on its own, then it’s not going to be able survive if you help it out.”

But, I’d also read a few posts and watched a couple of videos of people saving these struggling chicks, and testifying to how that chick would have surely died if they hadn’t intervened and how it was now thriving with the rest of the flock.  Oh, sure, these kinds were the exception, but something inside of me kept telling me I had to try.

So, I did.  One of the little chicks who’d been struggling for over 24 hours to emerge from its shell finally arrived, exhausted, after I helped finish “Unzipping” it.  He only lived for about an hour after he hatched.  The other chick managed to live for nearly a week.  He had problems from the very beginning – a ruptured air sac, spraddled legs,  but I kept hoping that he’d improve, and so I continued to care for him, hand feeding and watering him, isolating him from the other healthy chicks and comforting him by holding him in my warm hands and making him a fuzzy “sleeping buddy” to comfort him when I wasn’t around.  It was so cute to watch him nuzzle his head under those yarn pom poms, like a baby chick snuggles under the mama hen.  But it wasn’t enough.  He was just too weak.  I was sad to say good bye, but thankful to have known him and to have learned a little more about animal husbandry in the process.

little runt

Sometimes I think, “Maybe I’m just not cut out for this farm life.”

There are no guarantees.

There are so many struggles.

It’s a difficult, sometimes stressful life.

It doesn’t always go as planned.

But every loss is an opportunity to learn…

And, every success is a  reminder of the great and wonderful blessings and privileges God has given us out at our Happy Homestead, Whit’s Acres.


One thought on “Learning From Loss and Counting our Blessings Out at Our Happy Homestead

  1. HOLY MOLY, this post touched me! I want to hug you! You have such a beautiful heart. I raised chickens as a kid as a homeschool project, and I later learned that my parents shielded me from a majority of these heartaches. Anyway. I had this letter all typed out to send to you, but then got distracted by your blog! Ack! Ahem…

    My name is Gingi, and I am the owner / author of Domestic Geek Girl blog at domesticgeekgirl.com. It is a “Mom Blog” aimed at geek girls who have grown up and started families of their own! The majority of my readers are young, female wives and mothers – many of them military, homeschoolers and natural or “crunchy” mothers.

    I am originally from the Central Valley of California, but my husband’s Navy career has us currently living in Pensacola, Florida. BUT, we just got orders back to Lemoore, California! We’ll be back in the area by early April of this year!

    I am extremely interested in making connections with local farmers and only buying local produce. I have done a couple “local farmer” spotlights here in Pensacola, along with special discount offers to my readers, and they went over really well with the local Navy wives! I actually have more Lemoore readers than I have Pensacola readers, (I was born and raised in Hanford, California) so I thought – hey! Why not spotlight Central Valley farmers?!

    I have read and heard much about you guys and I am very interested in meeting with you and trying out some of your product! Would it be possible for me to take a tour of your farm, take pictures of my visit, and blog about what you do and what you offer the community?

    My readers are extremely interested in home, health and community topics – and I believe they would enjoy the information and photos I could provide through a journalistic approach to visiting your farm.

    My blog has over 1400 subscribers and I average around 400-600 unique views daily (and growing)! Let me know if meeting sometime over the summer would be something you are interested in!

    Thank you for your time. I hope we can work together!

    Gingi Freeman
    Domestic Geek Girl Blog

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