Friday, May 30, 2014

Life and Death on the Farm

Living on a farm with lots of animals is a beautiful thing. When one animal touches another - particularly if he lays his head on her body or reaches with a paw, hoof, claw or tentacle to touch another, it makes me smile every time. Seeing two animals curled up together sleeping is like Prozac (if Prozac makes you happy) for the watcher. This is universal. Baby animals make all people happy just to gaze upon and if you do not agree than you are the exception that proves the rule, the rule I just made up.

Unfortunately, until someone invents a one sided one, there are two sides to every coin. If, like on this farm, you have somewhere between fifty and 500 animals, there is an array of ages and levels of health. Sometimes, like yesterday in this case, the first indicator that your rooster is sick is his dead body lying in the dirt. Sadly, that is often the best case scenario. In the past few days Reuben and Stanley* died. Stanley, with feathers that could make a fly-tier weep, looked ok in the morning but was dead by lunch time. Reuben, tall, black and white, long beautiful tail, lethal four inch spurs and one beautiful red eye, was not so lucky. For the past few days he had been spending more time in the coop, then all of his time in the coop. One day he was "stuck" in a "hole." The "hole" could be more accurately described as a divot or a slightly low spot. He just couldn't walk up the 2% grade.Very sad to see the formerly vigorous become - no other way to say it - feeble. The next day he was found convulsing. Jenny tried to calm him. After a while he did calm down and died with his head in her hands. Reuben was one of the 12 chickens that the former owners of this farm left for us to take care of. Now there are five left. One moved to California, the rest were killed by predators.

Some deaths hit harder than others but they all suck. I know its part of life. I understand that. Like Siddhartha, when he died, it was just another experience but I still cried.

There's more on this subject coming but I am not prepared to write about it just yet.

*I just named Stanley for the purposes of this post

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