....you've got dead stock. At some point or another death will happen on the farm whether you are prepared for it or not. It's always sad, but helps you to appreciate life and how delicate it is.
We lost a chicken randomly last week. She never came home to the coop after they'd been free ranging all day. The weather has been cold and snowy, but the chickens still wanted to be out and about so we left their door open, so they were free to come and go as they pleased.
At the end of the day we had roll call and one was missing. We searched high and low, but no sign of her anywhere. This is a chance you take when you decide to allow your birds to free range. We checked for blood, feathers, anything that would give us a clue as to where she could be. Nothing turned up, so we accepted the loss and moved on.
Believe it or not we have had chickens who don't come home, but do find a warm, comfey hay pile and roost there for the night. They show up at their coop door bright and early for breakfast. This scenario didn't happen this time.
Yesterday, we went out to button things up for the evening. Our first stop was the pig pen. I peeked in to make sure she was happy and warm, plenty of food and water etc.
She was good, but I was not. I was staring at feathers everywhere and a pair of legs.
She had gotten a hold of one of the chickens and eaten it. I was disgusted. I wasn't mad at her or the chicken, but I was very disappointed with the loss of a life and a very good layer.
The chickens loooove to hang out with the pig. She always has food. They always have food too, but that doesn't matter. They are always looking for "greener grass".
(They eat the cat food any chance they get too.) If we give her scraps they come right over to take it away.
Unfortunately you cannot prevent everything. The chickens pushed their luck one too many times.
A farm-girl friend of mine is the one who told me, "If you've got livestock, you've got dead stock." That is life on the farm. There is more life than death, but death can unexpectedly happen. You have to do your best and not get too down on yourself when death does rear it's ugly head. Some situations are out of your control.