We’ve had sad days on the homestead that have been beyond our control. We’ve had sad days where we were able to gain some control and end suffering. But today we had a sad day that was MY FAULT!
This morning while I was outside feeding and watering the chickens I noticed that Omelet stayed behind after Quackers got off of her nest and started excavating it. She kicked three eggs out of it. I shooed her away and placed the eggs back into the nest and covered it.
Fast forward a few hours and I was outside again checking on the chickens. I noticed that there was an egg that had been kicked out of Quackers’ nest. As I grabbed it to replace it I realized that it was COLD. I knew that being cold was a bad sign. That meant that Quackers hadn’t been sitting on it and it was probably dead. I took the egg inside to candle. Much to my disappointment the egg looked like all of the others that had stopped developing. There was a ton of bright white space with some veining and a few floating clumps. At this stage of development the egg should’ve been pretty much full and I shouldn’t have been able to see much if it was developing properly. There was no movement and no response to me tapping on it.
Sadly I knew that the egg was no good and decided to toss it instead of giving it back to Quackers and risk it exploding or breaking and contaminating her whole nest. This is when our regular day takes a sad turn.
Curiosity got ahold of me. Every other egg that stopped developing we opened to see when the egg had stopped developing. Most of them were nothing more than cloudy yolks with a few veins, some of them were just regular eggs. We had two with small under developed dead chicks inside but most weren’t very mature. So my husband and I decided to take the egg outside and open it to see how far along it was when it died.
I spread some paper towels out on the ground and cracked the egg. The shell shattered leaving and intact membrane. And then my heart STOPPED! I saw movement. I shrieked, “It’s moving” to Hubby. Immediately my eyes stung with tears. What had I done? I knew that I need to save it, maybe it was fully developed (Friday was a potential hatch day for some of the eggs) so I carefully started to peel away the membrane being cautious not to pull because the duckling could still be attached. When I got the duck it looked up at me and took a breath. I automatically started crying and saying “I’m sorry I’m sorry” because I was causing this poor animal to suffer. I looked at Hubby and said “I have to save it”! He asked me “what can you do” but we both knew that I didn’t have an answer. I was so overwhelmed with guilt I NEEDED (probably selfishly) to try to help this poor creature. I ignorantly made a decision based on candling that the egg was dead. My ignorance caused this animal to suffer and it was ALL MY FAULT.
I ran into the house with the baby wrapped in paper towels and asked Hubby to try to get the incubator set up. The sweet baby died in my hands. I just stood there in shock. Quivering. I just repeated “I’m sorry” over and over. My husband came and took the body out of my hands, took it outside and buried it, and then came inside and led me to the spot where he buried it. I threw my arms around him in a hug and cried on his shoulders. He comforted me and listened to me while I babbled about being a murderer and the “worst person in the world”. I named the duckling Miracle and we plan on planting something nice over its grave.
Today I learned what I already knew, nature knows better than me and always will. Candling doesn’t always give you the full picture, and sometimes life on the homestead just stinks.
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