Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Don't Count Your Chickens

until they're hatched.  We've all heard this one before, but this past week the point was driven home like never before.  It's not that I intentionally embarked on this "let's hatch some eggs" journey.  It was my broody hens' ideas.  You see I couldn't keep them off the eggs.  After I figured out what their behaviour meant (they were 'nesting' get it?) I had to make a conscious choice about whether to interrupt nature's way, or go with it.  When it comes to nature, I am definetely a 'go-with-it' kind of girl. 
That's not to say that everything will go smoothly, and that nothing 'bad' will happen even though I seem to be perpetually caught by surprise when it does.  Last week I was so excited when I found the egg with the heartbeat, and even more shocked when it disappeared.  After moving through the sadness of the loss, I was resolved to create a better environment for the ladies.

A simple solution was to retro-fit a dog kennel with some wire mesh to thwart any marauders from stealing the eggs.  I lined the openings on the sides and the front door with this handy wire mesh:
Cozy and safe.  What more could my girls ask for?  I happily put the ladies and their 3 eggs back in for a snug fest.  Feeling very accomplished, I proudly showed my work to my husband upon his return a few hours later.  What was this?  ANOTHER EGG GONE!  More shock, dismay, and RESOLVE.  It must be one of the hens, how awful!  By pure chance, I had my husband remove 'Little Blacky' to leave our other Orpington in peace.  Fingers crossed we chose the right hen to boot.  I made sure the remaining lady had easy access to plenty of water and food.  She won't even need to leave her Broody Hen Palace.

Even though the lessons are hard, I am so grateful for my chickens and all they are teaching me about life.  It is a miracle, fragile yet resilient.  You just have to stay in there, ride that wave of loss, keep an open and buoyant heart, and you'll catch a glimpse of that new beginning.

And the hens and chicks?  Well, suffice it to say our Lady is still sitting on the same two eggs (plus another new one).  But I'm not counting on anything.  Let's just ride this one out shall we?


Anonymous said...

You say the SAME three eggs but earlier you mentioned another went missing. What did you not explain to your devoted readers?

Melissa said...

Oops, I'm sorry! I replaced the missing one. I should have said the same two eggs plus the new one. Does that make more sense?

Molly said...

so exciting! we just had ten of our twelve fertilized eggs hatch today. we have three happy hens and ten fluffy, adorable, chicks. in fact, my son asked me to stay home from his baseball game tonight so that i can babysit. i happily agreed, though i do believe the three momma chickens are doing the job just fine without me.

Melissa said...

How exciting Molly! I'm going to go post a comment on your blog so you'll be sure to see my congratulations!

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