I was reading Phelans Blog this morning and realized that a lot of so called homesteading blogs I read really does "sugar coat" the real life of a homestead. The fact of the matter is that a lot of the time it "ain't" pretty. Phelan woke up to a problem and dealt with it like any sensible person would do. She just took the time to tell the blog world about it and to post pictures. Why would anyone do that you ask? So we can learn from their mistake. I know now that when I see a tear in my wire I don't need to put off repairing it. I have enough problems with my flock of chickens. Phelan apparently got a lot of nasty emails for her post but I for one appreciate the real life blogs. I then know I am not the only one with problems.
A few months ago we noticed that more than a few hens were losing their feathers on their rear end. This is how cannibalism starts in a flock. The culprit (usually a hen) will pluck the feathers out of another and then start on the flesh, pecking at them until death, at this time others will join in on the "feast" so they too learn cannibalism. Usually it is one rogue hen causing the problems but I have yet to find the one doing it. I just find the dead body pecked to death and covered with ants and swollen and smelling in the heat....no it is not pretty. I have lost an egg producer and future meat for the table. I have lost 5 like this in the past two months. Although we have a fairly good size chicken yard, the flock has pecked every blade of grass and weed in the area so boredom may have been the cause. I recently sectioned off a small section in the yard and have been moving all of the hay and goat poop into that area for them to scratch in. The chickens make great little garden tractors by scratching in all of the hay and poop. I'll have a nice little garden area here when I move the flock. I'll show you in another post what I am doing as I find the time to complete my project.
Another homesteading family also deals sensibly with problems as they arise. Patrice at Rural Revolution posted this on her blog about a cow they had to put down due to an injury but they like Phelan was able to turn a bad situation into something good by providing meat for the family.