Is a pretty sweet Elton John song and a reality that one has to face quite quickly when you are keeping animals. Or anything living really.
Recently we lost 11 chickens in one swift, foul swoop. This added to the blow of losing 4 a month earlier in broad daylight. The culprit one, two, maybe a family of foxes, we’re not sure. This time round they didn’t even eat their bounty, instead left the bodies behind, some broken eggs and feathers for us to find. A shocking sight for any chook lover.
It has been a real learning curve. Feeling the dull aching loss of something you tend to daily, is a stark reminder of how much love and attention you can pour into a pet over time. Owning chickens is a beautiful and rewarding hobby which can occupy you endlessly. Cleaning out yards, fixing fences, refreshing water, feeding them tasty treats and relishing the sight of them chowing down. Watching them nesting and laying in the home you have created with your hands and your heart.
The more love and energy you put in, the more the blow hurts if they are taken away, the sad reality is, that they will be taken at some point, whether through sickness, foxes or natural death.
Living at Murrindindi allows us to see the seed, sprout, grow, live, die, cycle of life and it’s those lessons we seek. In some way we can’t experience this fully without having it thrown in our faces. And we’ve gotten our wish!
It seems silly to pour so much energy and meaning into chickens but there is so much joy in the simple act of caring for another living thing that it’s hard to hold back. Maybe the lesson is you must protect yourself from that inevitable blow? The cycle of life won’t stop for you and the reality of farm life is that it’s not about pitching yourself against the foxes, the caterpillars, the cabbage moths which are always going to exist and EAT your loved ones (whether that’s animal or vegetable) but understanding that this loss is also part of your life.
So it will be a while before we get more chickens, mustering the energy to begin all over again will take time. Repairs need to be made where our cunning foes dug their way in (yep 40cm deep into rock hard clay)
Fantastic Mr. Fox will have to be curtailed in other ways if we are to keep the free range egg dream alive. But we will try again and we have learnt something very important thanks to that cunning fox.