I frequently get comments along the lines of "I just wish I could come spend a day on your farm sometime. It must be so much fun!" Most days, it is. It is absolutely so much fun. And, yes, there are moments I wish I could just freeze-frame or have painted on canvas because they're just so perfect. But not everyday is idyllic. Some days are just hard.
And making decisions about the animals you care for each day can be tough. We don't take our responsibility to care for our animals lightly. Today, we're faced with a tough one.
This sweet Araucana is being picked on horribly. Have you ever wondered where the term "pecking order" comes from? Wonder no more! She's definitely at the bottom of the totem pole. And, I know it seems strange, but it's not uncommon for this breed to be picked on. They look different-- a little fluffier, a little smaller boned. Yes, even chickens discriminate based on ridiculous things. If you look closely, you can see the little pins where her tail and wing feathers have been plucked out. She's dwindled away to next to nothing. I watched her today try to get to the feed and get cut off at every pass.
Clearly, she's suffering. And, what's more, the longer we leave her to be picked on, the more the chickens are learning to pick on her. It's definitely not a behavior we want to encourage.
When we first bought laying hens, she was one of the 8 we brought home. She's always been special to us because of her beautiful blue/green eggs. And, she proved her mettle that first sweltering summer when we lost a few hens due to heat, and she just kept right on laying like we didn't have 15 consecutive days over 100 degrees.
So, she's been with us from the beginning of this little farm. We owe it to her to make the right decision here.
But, what is that?
These are the tough decisions, folks.