Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Christmas Miracle

It's a little belated, I know, but today was the first day I actually knew about it so... forgive me.

In order to fully appreciate my story we have to rewind to Thanksgiving... I was in Dallas visiting my parents, siblings, and my mother's side of the family when tragedy struck at home here in Amarillo TX.

Little known fact, I raise chickens in my backyard. Not poultry chickens, strictly egg-laying chickens. I adore birds, and it cuts back on my grocery bill. I have a lovely little coop and enclosed yard for them, and outside the yard is another fenced in yard where in the spring and summer I have my vegetable garden. At the end of harvest season, I let the chickens roam around and eat down the vegetable plants. They like the sunshine and it eliminates some gardening work for me, so it's a win-win situation.

At the time, I had 10 beautiful Rhode Island Red hens, but when I returned, there was only a single hen left. The one that I affectionately call 'Lorraine.'

Apparently, a dog got under my fence and there was a wanton slaughter of the chickens. Lorraine was lucky to have survived at all. Needless to say, while I was very upset and sad at the matter, Lorraine was traumatized and stopped laying. I didn't really blame her. I don't know if I would continue to lay after watching the chicks I grew up with get eaten before my eyes. Terrible...

Anyway, since chickens are social creatures, I knew I'd best find some more companions for Lorraine to keep her happy, and unfortunately at the time, no farmer in the panhandle area was selling hens. I was going to have to wait until the spring and purchase chicks to raise. But Lorraine wasn't going to make it that long. She was so depressed that she completely stopped eating, and that's when I caved in and decided to purchase 2 small bantham roosters to keep her company through the winter. I don't really know if I'm allowed to keep roosters on my property but I figured that since these boys were small that they would have small vocal chords too and there would only be small crows. Only one consistently crows and I was right, he isn't very loud, but boy does he crow all day long. Lorraine started eating again so I was pleased.

Felicia and I decidecd to go ahead and purchase some chicks to ready for the spring, but the problem is that they only come in packs of twenty-five.... they cannot go out to the chicken coop until they have all of their feathers in. If they don't have their feathers, they will die because freshly-hatched chicks cannot control their own body temperature. That's why the hen always roosts on top of her brood- to keep them warm. So, for the past two or three weeks, I've have twenty-five peeping chicks in a large dog kennel in our bedroom with a heat lamp over them, and none of my felines are allowed inside. It was the only solution we could think of.

A few days before Christmas, the chicks finally got all of their feathers in and we made the big move from the bedroom to the coop. I was a little nervous about them at first because I thought the two grown roosters may try to hurt them, but thankfully, they continue to remain unharmed. I suppose it is because they are all females and none male. I'm sure the roosters would definitely not like another male intruding on their territory....

Well, on Christmas morning, we had some snow and went to check and see if everyone was okay out in the coop where we found a little surprise....

Lorraine laid another egg     :)

I think she's going to be all-right.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a story of life from a girl with a big tender loving heart.i love you SKF Nan