Friday, November 13, 2009

Good news and bad news

First the good news. Look who is out with the rest of the flock! Yes, it's Calendula. They've accepted her with no problems. She loves being out and follows us around everywhere when we are out there. She also likes being petted and held. She is a sweet girl and quickly becoming a favorite.

Here is Calendula with her boyfriend Dusty Miller, our beautiful roo that we just adore. Now the bad news, even though this picture was taken yesterday, Dusty Miller is not longer with us. He got eaten this morning (not by us).

We are heartbroken! It seems silly to be this upset about the death of your free exotic chick, but he was a really special boy. He followed me everywhere when I was outside. He spent a lot of time out front. He loved to explore the neighbor's pasture and we knew it was just a matter of time before something got him. He refused to stay home! We will miss him and his wandering ways. No more "where you going Dusty Miller"


Melody said...

Oh! I'm sorry. He was a sweetie *and* a beauty, which happens rarely. Dang wandering ways!

Linda said...

Bummer for sure!

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

it don't matter that he was free or whatever, all my critters quickly become family. If they've had their picture taken, they're family.

what did he get eaten by?

Spring Lake Farm said...

Darn, I know how much you and Logan will miss him.

I am so glad you came over the day you did and were willing to take Calendula after the attack. It makes me very happy to see her doing so well. I wish you bunches and bunches of beautiful big dark eggs from her!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

That's the price we pay when we allow our chickens to free-range unfortunately. I will never allow my Polish or Silkie show chickens to free range because they are worth too much to me. Not that my other chickens aren't, too, but the show chickens are much more difficult to replace.

Sorry for your loss, but I'm glad to read that Calendula is getting her life back again :)


Farmgirl_dk: said...

I'm so sorry, Christy. This is such a horrible thing. My chickens mean the world to me, but I still wouldn't stop allowing them to free range. It makes them so happy. You gave a sweet boy a wonderful life.

Michelle said...

Oh no! Thats so sad. Poor little dusty miller.

Gail said...

It is never easy to loose an animal but that is farm life, sadly. So sorry, I know he was very special to you both.

Christy said...

Joanna, that is a good way to put it. If we've taken their picture, they mean something to us. We think it was a hawk, but aren't sure.

Lisa, it is the risk we take. I just can't imagine keeping them confined, they love to roam, especially Dusty. I do however keep my Mille Fleurs confined. Like you said, they are a special breed.

Danni - exactly! It makes them happy to be able to range and I can't imagine taking that away from them. We may lose some, but they are happy while they are alive.

linda m said...

Oh Christy, I am so sorry about Dusty Miller. He was such a special "boy". I just loved how attentive he was with Calendula - I've never seen that in chickens before. At least while he was with you he was one happy chicken and that is the important part. Tell Logan how sorry I am.

Kendra at New Life On A Homestead said...

Awww, I'm so sorry!! It is sad when you lose one of your animals, especially when you have grown fond of it. We've probably lost 15 chickens this summer, to hawks unfortunately. And we lost a goat to a dog. I'm sorry for your loss :(

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

re: free-ranging.

Yes, I love my chickens, too, that's why they are only permitted to free-range when I am out there with them.

My kids would find happiness in running free, too, and while they are allowed some freedom, there are places they are not allowed to free-roam because of 'predators' and traffic, etc.

If you know that you have persistant predators around waiting for a free chicken dinner, allowing your chickens to free range is just offering them up on a silver platter.

Providing chicken happiness is great, but providing chicken safety is an important responsibility of chicken ownership, too.


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oh. And I also meant to add that I think that it's not the chicken supposedly leading a happier life that leads us to allow them to free-roam, it's our old fashioned idyllic enjoyment of watching chickens pecking in the yard.
I'll admit I fall for that same line of thinking, too. There is something so peaceful about chickens clucking around loose in a yard.

My own chickens do seem to enjoy their time outside pecking in the grass, too, but they seem much more relaxed and calm once they are back inside the safety of their coop.
I think they know that they can finally let their guard down. It's like a cat trying to walk through a room full of rocking chairs when they are outside their coop, keeping their eyes to the sky for predators.

And yes, I could fall for that, "oh , at least my chickens were happy while they were alive" opinion, but then I'd have to do the same for the rest of my animals...and kids.

We live near a busy road, so even though my big dog loves to run free, she'd be hit by a car within a week.
Oh...but at least she was happy while she was alive.

I just don't get that philosophy. I really don't.


Linda said...

I don't want to cause any waves, and please do not be offended, but I totally agree with Laughing Orca Ranch... of course if we are ok with losing some then ya, let them free range. I don't have chickens now, but I used to and I will again in the not to distant future. My chickens free ranged when I was there to observe, just as I let my goats out when I am home. But if we have to go someplace, they get locked in the barn. I don't want to lose them and they are small goats, therefore easy pray. When I have chickens again, it will be the same... besides all that, it costs to replace them!

Sheila Henline said...

I'm sorry to hear about your chicken. We lost two ducks earlier this year. I understand you loss.

Christy said...

Lisa and Linda, everyone has different opinions on free ranging. I don't let them free range for my happiness. I believe it is better for their health to be out on pasture, in the sun etc. It decreases the amount of parasites they are exposed to. I do lock them up at night as they would be easy prey then. They are always near the stall (except Dusty) and can run to safety. Dusty was in the neighbor's pasture and I wouldn't have contained him. He would have been miserable.

We've only lost 2 chickens in a year, to me that doesn't make a persistant predator problem. To others, it may. Both chickens were far outside their normal ranging area at the time too. We are talking about options that may include penning them when we aren't around. Or getting a guardian dog for them and the goats.

I respect both of your opinions, but don't like being made to feel like I'm irresponsible or care about my animals less because I make a different choice on how to raise them.

Linda said...

"I respect both of your opinions, but don't like being made to feel like I'm irresponsible or care about my animals less because I make a different choice on how to raise them."

I didn't intend to make you feel that way and I apologize! Truly. I never thought you cared about your animals any less. Some may feel the way I take care of my animals to be wrong. We each have our own choices to make and that doesn't make us right or wrong. It just means we are individuals and have the right to free choice. Personally I feel you are doing wonderful. When I responded to Lisa I was just voicing an opinion... I am sorry you were made to feel bad. Forgiven?

Christy said...

Linda, of course! When an animal you are caring for dies, there is always guilt I think. So, I'm probably overly sensitive right now. I have considered containing them and probably will continue to consider it. I don't want my animals to die. However, I truly believe it is best for them to be able to range. The 2 times the hawk has come, it has been in the morning, on mornings I didn't lock them up the night before. I will from now on lock them up at night and not let them out until I come down in the morning. At least that way, if the hawk is around he will leave when I come down.

Linda said...

Ah ok... whew! Ya, I have thought about the hawks with the baby goats and even though I want to let them out so bad all day with mom, I can't and even when they grow some it still scares the beegee's outa me! I have to watch them very careful. I have been lax in getting the goats in the barn before dark and have only been putting them in before I go to bed. I worry mush about it because we have cougars and other very wild animals around. I don't want to attract there attention and by my leaving them out later at night I may be doing that. So I am going to renew my efforts to make sure they are in in a timely manner. The more winter wears on the more dangerous I think it may be...

But anyways - glad we are still friends! {{{hugs}}}

Razzberry Corner said...

So sorry about Dusty Miller. I plan on free-ranging my chickens when they are grown. I love my little ones now, they bring me lots of laughs and joy. My special little rooster-to-be is named Leggy, and it would break my heart if anything happened to that little man.

tina f. said...

Oh, that's too bad. I'm down one speckled sussex hen myself. She'd been sick for a couple of days, but in spite of my hand feeding and watering she finally succumbed last night. I'm not sure if a neighbor's dog had got to her or she was sick from something else. Now I only have one ss hen left besides my other breeds. It can be frustrating at times, can't it!

Christy said...

Tina, our speckled sussex are our favorites. Sorry you lost one.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...


I'm sorry that I made you feel bad. I just get so fed up with those who are so pushy about free range chickens. I've been made to feel like a mean, cruel chicken owner so many times, because I don't let my chickens roam free 24/7.

Besides being pets, my chickens are very valuable to me because they help feed my family. For each chicken I own, I've invested time and money in care, feed, water, bedding, and electricity, so in the end that little $3.00 chick (or free chick) turns out to cost at least $40 in just a year.
I don't throw away money. And each life, even a chicken's life is important to me.

Yes, I wish they could free-range 24/7, but I'm a realist and know that if I did that, I'd lose at least several chickens every year to avian and ground predators, as well as cars, and I'd annoy the neighbors with chickens pooping on their front yard.

So even though I don't allow my chickens to free range every day, and only when I can be outside with them, I do take good care of them and they do live a very good and safe life in a large comfortable coop.

I just had an outdoor cat get killed and eaten by coyotes several months ago. For 20+ years I said I would never have an outdoor cat, but was talked into it by someone that convinced me that my cat would be happier outside, and I was being unfair to him by not letting him outside to hunt for mice and birds and be more 'cat-like'. And then just 3 months later, he was killed.
I will never have an outdoor, free-range cat again.

I just get so fed up with folks that push the entire free-range philosophy down other's throats.

Then those same people are so upset and heartbroken when one of their chickens get picked off by a predator.
I say, "If you're going to stick your chicken into the fire, then expect it to get burned".

Free-ranging chickens is not the only way to raise chickens and it certainly is not always the best way either.

But, Christy you can raise your chickens the way you see fit, and I will do the same, my friend. We can just agree to disagree.