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The Circle of Life

May 20th, 2014

When you have animals you notice the circle of life.  On Sunday morning I went out to the coop to find our oldest hen had died during the night.  She was in her usual spot the night before when I counted everyone at bedtime, she must have died in her sleep right on her roost.  I’m happy she went this way, it’s no fun dealing with sick chickens.  She lived a long happy life, out foraging in the fields and have fun with her flock mates.
Chickens 2
We’re not sure how old she was, probably around 5 years old. She came to us with the house when we arrived a year and a half ago, she was an Isa Brown. We still have a few of these original hens left, but their numbers have dwindled by way of fox attacks.
Broody Hen Umbrella
Meanwhile, Broody Hen is being a wonderful mom, bringing up replacements for her. So goes the circle of life, there is birth and death; the young replace the sick, older or those lost through predation. It will be interesting to see how many of these little chicks are hens and how many are roosters. It seems in spring the new life cycle of this circle is most evident since this is the time when animals are hatching and birthing the subsequent generation.

Have you noticed new life in the garden?

8 Comments to “The Circle of Life”
  1. Robin on May 20, 2014 at 6:12 am

    I bought Silkie chicks last year with eggs, meat and replacement hens in mind. Over the weekend our oldest Silkie hatched five chicks and is raising them. We’re not quite full circle yet as we haven’t harvested roosters yet.

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  2. Joan on May 20, 2014 at 7:04 am

    I’m sorry Susy. We’ve had a lot of our older hens pass on, especially in the last year, and it’s always hard.

    New life: lots of plants springing forth, and of course the ubiquitous tent caterpillars. : ) Ugh! (Chickens love them though…)

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  3. Nebraska Dave on May 20, 2014 at 8:15 am

    Susy, yes, the circle of life is a homestead certainty. I’m sorry to hear about the death of a flock member but thrilled to know that the chicks are surviving. Life and death is a much more obvious issue when living in the country. My little urban ranch hatched Robins from the nest just above my front door on the trellis. The resident backyard rabbit still lives in the wood pile but I see no babies. That rabbit or now his/her descendants have lived in my backyard for years. So new life happens some where in the neighborhood.

    Today will be more planting day. I just hope that we have seen the last of old Jack Frost until late October. Gardens are so far behind this year. I thought last year was late but I think this year is later. Since the frost a few days ago killed the tomatoes and bell peppers, that first fresh garden tomato won’t happen until August. Such is life for the gardener.

    Have a great circle of life day on the Maine homestead.

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    • Susy on May 20, 2014 at 7:32 pm

      The chicks are doing great, it’s been fun watching mamma raise them. Of course it’s so much easier letting her do the brooding, she’s a much better chick mamma than I am!

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  4. Sara on May 20, 2014 at 9:07 am

    We have a five year old hen who is fat and happy, but rarely lays anymore and seems to be slowing down. I’m hoping to just find her in her favorite sunning spot one afternoon. My other older hen is full of spunk and lays the occasional egg, and I think she might live forever :)

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  5. daisy on May 20, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Sorry to hear about your hen. She was blessed with a good life, so that must bring some comfort. Right now, we have an abundance of frogs and baby birds enjoying the springtime weather. Instead of a rooster, there are frogs croaking outside my bedroom window, lest I oversleep!

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  6. Tommy on May 21, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Susy, what do you do with the dead hen? Do you process her for dog food, compost her, how do you make use of the circle of life? Just wondering—thanks, love your blog.

    Reply to Tommy's comment

    • Susy on May 21, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      We composted her, we have a big pile of compost that is mostly wood chips and grass clippings that won’t be ready for a year or so. She was buried in that pile.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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