The Downside of Urban Farming

So I haven’t written about this yet because it’s just been too sad. Ok that’s not really true, I just haven’t really had the time or the desire to talk more about it… but suffice it to say, some days, urban farming isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

About a year ago, I got these little ladies.

And throughout the course of the year, you have followed along our ups and downs, our trials and triumphs and our out and out fails.

It certainly has been a wild ride, no?

After poor little Betty’s ordeal with the dog last week, I thought perhaps the worst of the summertime farming fails was over and that we could all settle back to normalcy, gathering our eggs and our produce until winter.

Ah, that it should be so easy.

Lately, I have been forgetting to get the eggs out of the nesting box every day. In fact, I’ve been forgetting to get them forseveral days at a time and will finally remember and have to gather up the 12-15 or so eggs that have been sitting out there for a while. Now I’m not obviously concerned that they will go bad as fresh eggs have a great shelf life, but I should have been concerned about something else… namely creatures besides myself that like to eat them.

I went out to the yard to play with the kidlet a few days ago and only saw Thelma and Louise wandering around the pen. Since they tend not to lay at the same time, I was confused as to where the other two might be. I called them but no one came. So I looked in the henhouse to see… feathers. A whole lot of feathers. And a large black shape on the bottom of the coop.

Wilma wandered out of the house, obviously fine and un-traumatized as I raced into the run and looked inside to see my little Betty, motionless on the henhouse floor.

Sigh.

Something had gotten into the run and into the henhouse presumably to eat some of the eggs, and it would appear killed her when she went in to lay that morning. The injustice of it was that whatever killed her, didn’t even EAT her. There was no circle of life thing going on here. It merely killed her (in a not unbloody and disgusting way) and then left her there.

What an asshole.

So like any good farmer does, I called my husband and cried.

And then went over the neighbors house to see if he would help me clean up the mess.

And then I cried some more.

Stupid animal that ate my chicken.

Stupid chicken for getting eaten.

And stupid me for crying about it.

But sometimes, farming totally sucks.

*****

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Comments

  1. says

    Oh gosh, I'm so so sorry that happened to your lady. We're starting our chicken venture next spring and this is the sort of thing I'm worried about. We have raccoons, skunks, loose house cats, dogs that get out of fences and hawks regularly passing through or over our yard. I do not want my girls eaten. I hope you're able to secure the remainder of your group! Oh, and happy SITS day!

    • ItsaFitting says

      Thanks Audrey! It totally is worth it, but also worth the money to secure the flock properly to minimize the risk. We have a roof on our chicken run because guess what? Chickens fly away… WHO KNEW? (I certainly didn't)

  2. says

    Oh gosh, I'm so so sorry that happened to your lady. We're starting our chicken venture next spring and this is the sort of thing I'm worried about. We have raccoons, skunks, loose house cats, dogs that get out of fences and hawks regularly passing through or over our yard. I do not want my girls eaten. I hope you're able to secure the remainder of your group! Oh, and happy SITS day!

  3. says

    Oh my Dear! So sorry for you- my cousin had minks killing her chickens and she said they are just mean that way- not killing them to eat them at all. Deep breath. Also, I think that one of the things that farm living has to offer is these life lessons in death/pain/birth and so much more that is really part of life. My kids miss out on that and I feel like those are important lessons to consider differently as you are 5, again at 9, then at 12 and 16.

    • ItsaFitting says

      Angi you are so right. It was an interesting lesson to teach my 2.5 year old, but an important one. We live in a fairly rural area, so he does have a chance to see where his food comes from and he understands that we eat animals, etc but it still stinks.

  4. says

    Oh my Dear! So sorry for you- my cousin had minks killing her chickens and she said they are just mean that way- not killing them to eat them at all. Deep breath. Also, I think that one of the things that farm living has to offer is these life lessons in death/pain/birth and so much more that is really part of life. My kids miss out on that and I feel like those are important lessons to consider differently as you are 5, again at 9, then at 12 and 16.

  5. says

    Congratulations on your SITS day. I hope it's a fabulous day for you.

    Sorry about the chicken. That is the sucky part of farming. I used to play with our pigs when I was little. Imagine my disgust when I was told where the ham I was eating had come from. So sad. Why, oh why, do we name them and love them?

  6. says

    Congratulations on your SITS day. I hope it's a fabulous day for you.

    Sorry about the chicken. That is the sucky part of farming. I used to play with our pigs when I was little. Imagine my disgust when I was told where the ham I was eating had come from. So sad. Why, oh why, do we name them and love them?

    • Ashley @ It's Fitting says

      Seriously. We use to name the pigs on my grandma’s farm.. but we were actually calling them bacon and ham, so I think we had an idea of where they were eventually going. Kind of sadistic, no? :-)

    • ItsaFitting says

      Thanks Andrea – such is the life of a farmer… But seeing as how I straddle that line of urban farmer and completely emotional softie… it can get a little weepie around these parts when something yucky happens. :-)

  7. ItsaFitting says

    Angi you are so right. It was an interesting lesson to teach my 2.5 year old, but an important one. We live in a fairly rural area, so he does have a chance to see where his food comes from and he understands that we eat animals, etc but it still stinks.

  8. Venus says

    Gah!!! Heartbreaking. Sorry you had to go through that… here's hoping no other asswipe critters go after your chickens!

  9. Venus says

    Gah!!! Heartbreaking. Sorry you had to go through that… here's hoping no other asswipe critters go after your chickens!

    • ItsaFitting says

      Yeah, it sucked. But I guess that comes along with the farming territory… or at least that's what my 92 year old farming grandfather tells me.

    • ItsaFitting says

      Yeah, I talk a big game about wanting to be a farmer, but the actual reality of it sometimes SUCKS. So I'm a sensitive farmer??

    • ItsaFitting says

      Thanks. It just blows because you start to think about them as your pets… that is of course until it's time to eat them… :-)

  10. ItsaFitting says

    Thanks. It just blows because you start to think about them as your pets… that is of course until it's time to eat them… :-)

  11. says

    Awwww! {{ hugs }}

    We have chickens too (Plymouth Barred Rock hens – 14 of 'em) and I totally get it. We got them as chicks last October, and so far have only lost one to the incredulous heat wave we had a month or so back.

    But we do have an injured one that is currently living in our laundry room (PegLeg). Did you know chickens can become cannibalistic if one of them is injured? We found out the hard way. She'll probably never be able to be reintegrated into the flock.

    Glad to find a fellow chicken wrangler! Good luck with the rest of your girls!

    {{ stopping by from SITS }}

    • ItsaFitting says

      Thanks for stopping by! And yeah… it sucked. 14 PBRs? Holy MACKEREL! I wanted to get more to replace my Betty, but realize that I a) can't only reintroduce one, and b) don't really know if I want five or six chickens. So, we are on hold at this point.
      Awwww, poor PegLeg! And yes, I did know that about hens. Mine seem to be nice, but I'm not going to test out that theory ;-)

  12. says

    Awwww! {{ hugs }}

    We have chickens too (Plymouth Barred Rock hens – 14 of 'em) and I totally get it. We got them as chicks last October, and so far have only lost one to the incredulous heat wave we had a month or so back.

    But we do have an injured one that is currently living in our laundry room (PegLeg). Did you know chickens can become cannibalistic if one of them is injured? We found out the hard way. She'll probably never be able to be reintegrated into the flock.

    Glad to find a fellow chicken wrangler! Good luck with the rest of your girls!

    {{ stopping by from SITS }}

  13. ItsaFitting says

    Thanks for stopping by! And yeah… it sucked. 14 PBRs? Holy MACKEREL! I wanted to get more to replace my Betty, but realize that I a) can't only reintroduce one, and b) don't really know if I want five or six chickens. So, we are on hold at this point.
    Awwww, poor PegLeg! And yes, I did know that about hens. Mine seem to be nice, but I'm not going to test out that theory ;-)

  14. ItsaFitting says

    Yeah, I talk a big game about wanting to be a farmer, but the actual reality of it sometimes SUCKS. So I'm a sensitive farmer??

  15. ItsaFitting says

    Yeah, it sucked. But I guess that comes along with the farming territory… or at least that's what my 92 year old farming grandfather tells me.

  16. ItsaFitting says

    Thanks Andrea – such is the life of a farmer… But seeing as how I straddle that line of urban farmer and completely emotional softie… it can get a little weepie around these parts when something yucky happens. :-)

  17. ItsaFitting says

    Thanks Audrey! It totally is worth it, but also worth the money to secure the flock properly to minimize the risk. We have a roof on our chicken run because guess what? Chickens fly away… WHO KNEW? (I certainly didn't)

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