I know I’ve talked before about When Farming’s Not Fun But sometimes it’s more than “not fun” it’s down right sad. Today was one of those days. I was heading outside to go check for eggs when I stopped abruptly in the sunroom and let out a terrified squeak. There was a dead chick laying on the carpet. This discovery would’ve been sad but what I found was worse than a dead chicken. It was a chicken whose throat had been torn into but was very much alive and struggling.
I searched frantically in my mind for an adult to help me, the farmer whose responsibility it was to help this suffering creature. And to my horror I remembered that it was me. I had to put this animal out of its misery. I ran scenarios in my head where he could be okay, where I didn’t have to cull him. There was just no way he would live and he was suffering.
I carried him outside. On hands and knees in the dirt I laid him down, apologized to him that I couldn’t protect him, thanked him for his sacrifice, and set him free. Quickly and cleanly.
I cleaned up the mess and I was sad. Not because there was a death on the farm, not even because I had to be the one to dispatch the chicken (I owed him that much). I was sad because I didn’t keep him safe. That I didn’t uphold my promise to ensure that he would only have one bad moment.
So I’m heading outside to add chicken wire around his enclosure so that no other baby chicks sneak out and meet the same fate.