Life on the farm isn't without hardship and painful decisions. I learn as I go (thank goodness for Google) and bringing life to the farm also means inevitably at some point dealing with death whether it is the butcher of an animal, old age, or circumstantial. I have made it through eggs that haven't hatched, helping chicks hatch that weren't ready with dire consequences (a story for another day), stillborn and stuck kits, a chicken massacre from a loose dog, and bottle calves that haven't made it despite consistency and dedication, however every batch of hatchlings we have ordered has always miraculously turned out perfectly wonderful. This last batch however has proven to be a saddening disaster.
It all began when I went to pick up my box from the post office so excited about the prospect of our new turkeys, guineas, and my much anticipated new egg layers. The smell from the box was overwhelming. At first I thought maybe turkeys just STINK. Upon opening the box I knew I was wrong. There lay my Silver Dorking hard as a rock at the corner. She must have died right upon shipping and been dead for at least a day from the smell. My other box mates were moving around like zombies and I was terrified they would suffer the same fate. I immediately got them out of the box and into their brooders ensuring they had an extra dip of electrolyte water. By the second day despite my best efforts to syringe feed I had 2 dead guineas and another that was near death. In a panic that probably borders on crazy I made her a sling which I tied around my neck so I could keep her close. I knew she wasn't going to make it but it didn't seem right to let her pass away under a heat lamp being trampled by her litter mates. Upon putting her in the sling she began to quietly chirp. It was a heartwarming sound. A couple hours later the chirping stopped and I knew she had passed.
A simple act of kindness is all it takes sometimes to make someone else's life a little better even if their time is short.
I am a 2nd grade teacher by day and a full time farm wife by evening (and weekends and the summer!).