2012, all in all, was a year of learning experiences for me. And while not all lessons in life are easy or enjoyable, they shape who we are and how we will take on the future. Chinese tradition called it the year of the Dragon, but for me it was the year of the Chicken. Our first steps into this new found hobby (albeit obsession at times) has brought much into my life.
Raising day old chicks this spring with my family showed me how to appreciate the joy in new experiences. Watching the little fluffy creatures grow and change, so rapidly, was something that my daughter and I were in awe of. From their first bites of a new food to their first time out in grass all the way to their first attempts at roosting, watching their reactions brought us laughter and a chance to bond.
A day before Thanksgiving we noticed one of our hens acting distressed. She was displaying signs of being eggbound. Watching our sweet Ursula so uncomfortable, hunched up, labored breathing, we were very concerned. No matter the holiday, we set up a dog kennel inside our home for her and she stayed inside with us for five days. She was carefully monitored (by all family members, human and animal) and received what treatments we could do to help. Epson salt soaks, gentle massages, warm moist heat...nothing helped.
This would be her first egg, but it seemed as if she wasn't quite ready to lay it. A few days after the holiday she perked back up and acted good as new. False alarm on being eggbound! She went back out and hasn't had any problems since. I suspect she just wanted an invitation to holiday dinner, but changed her mind once she saw the turkey wasn't the "honored guest" she thought! We all realized though just how attached we had become to the girls.
I never thought I'd be a "chicken keeper" in my lifetime, but I am now. I love it and I'm very glad and grateful for what this has brought into my life. They have caused me to slow down and appreciate the simple things a little more. It also introduced me to a wonderful group of Farm Chicks who have enriched my life more than they know.