Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sad News

We had a big loss on our homestead a few nights ago. It wouldn't be fair for me not to post, as I really want people to know what they are getting into, and have a realistic perspective on homesteading. We lost all 26 of our meat birds. We had them in the tractor without any issues for quite a while. Then, we found the remains of the birds. All 26 had been killed, only a few were taken though. It looks like raccoons sat on top of the wire and were able to bend the wire enough to give them leverage to pull the staples out of the side. It gave them enough room to get into the tractor. Signs around the tractor all pointed to raccoons, and our neighbor killed a large one recently, and we've seen others since. We were heartbroken.

Now, my dad has been a HUGE encourager in our homestead (he's also my beekeeping partner). Dad handed us a check to buy more birds. His advice (Listen very carefully, because this is GOOD ADVICE)--"You know what your weaknesses are. Fix them, and start right back up. Don't let this beat you." He's right.

Because we're short on time, we had to settle for Cornish X birds. We aren't thrilled by that, but we really want to have chicken to eat this winter. We're buying a very heavy gauge wire to put on the chicken tractor, and reinforcing all the weak points.

The big lesson in all of this: it takes a lot to be a homesteader. Sometimes we have to put aside our preferences to take what works best for our situation. We have to overcome the hardships that are inherent to raising livestock. We have to adapt to our surroundings and limitations. Sad days are hard, but the good days are worth it.


  1. Oh I'm so sorry!!! We lost one a couple of days ago to the heat and that was bad enough, I can't imagine losing that many :( Good on you and your dad too though..keep carrying on!

  2. Sorry to hear about your loss, but yes, you're right that you should post about the good & and bad, and in this case, the really, really bad. Homesteading isn't all fuzzy chicks and fresh milk.

    And to think I used to like raccoons in my "city days". We kill them on sight now. Something I didn't think I'd ever do, but when they cause so much damage in materials, time and $$$, it's either us or them!

    Good luck with your new batch & fortifying your chicken tractor.

  3. Your dad is very right. This has happened to us a time or two. That's all you can do, is pull yourself up by the bootstraps and go again. The life of a farmer.

  4. I'm sorry you lost all of your meat birds. You dad is right and kudos to you for listening to him and not giving up. The work is hard, the losses heartbreaking and frustrating, but the ultimate success if you keep working at it, are beyond rewarding and satisfying.

  5. Sorry to hear about your loss. Raccoons have been a big issue in my neighborhood this summer. Three young one have been trapped in the past month .. and I live in town.

    Sounds as though you have a good, and wise, Dad!

    I lost one of my Buff Orpingtons to the heat 3 weeks ago. It was a hard hit to take. Besides being a good layer Marguerite was a goofball and a pet.
    Best of luck with the new birds!

  6. So sorry about your chicks. Great advice from your dad. Homesteading can be hard, but it is so worth it.

  7. Oh no!!!! I was heartbroken by the loss of two birds..... I can only imagine walking in on the loss of all your birds..... I'm so sorry. I hope your restart goes much better for you.

  8. I'm so sorry! It's heartbreaking when we lose animals we've put so much into. I hope your second batch was ok?