*Graphic Content - Read at own risk.*
Sometimes things just don't work out.
When we vistied our coop today, we came to discover that one of our hatching eggs had somehow been cracked, causing us to lose one of our unborn chicks.
While I am heartbroken, lately, life has been giving me some lessons in handling agricultural loss. Recently, we lost a different silkie hen, who had been picked up by a fox while free-ranging in our yard one morning. While we were able to save her from the fox, she had been badly damaged and no amount of coaxing and physical therapy were going to repair it. The hen we lost, was over 2 years old, and we had rescued her from another backyard-poultry owner who was ready to send her to"freezer camp". So, I feel good about having been able to give her more time, and that she passed in our care, instead of as a fox lunch.
It can be hard to dettach yourself and remind yourself that these are agricultural animals first, and pets second. We haven't yet done meatbirds, mostly because we have been cautious about whether or not we could raise something only to cull it. The thing I remind myself of now though, is that these birds, unlike the chickens that fill our grocery store shelves, live a much happier, peaceful, and enjoyable life. Much of the chicken we get from the store is raised in far less appealing conditions. While at times there are losses, I can't help to think that at a minimum, they were happy on our homestead.
The chick situation is slightly different however... When hatching chicks, you are not guaranteed a 100% success rate. There will be some that don't make it every now and again, for whatever the reason nature decided. This situation in particular is a bit trying, as it looks like we were only about a week away from the poor chick hatching. All I can do is chalk it up to this being the way it was supposed to be, and use it as a learning experience.
It is not often that you have the opportunity to study a chicken embrio and see how everything is connected inside the shell:
Pretty amazing to bear witness to the blood vessels that form within the egg, and how a yellow blob (the yoke) can become something magnificent.
Based on this picture, it looks as though it would have been a grey or, "blue" silkie, just like the momma hen(s). This encourages me and gives me hope for the three remaining chicks that are getting ready to hatch. It is a great feeling to know we (our chickens and their caregivers) are capable of creating new life. We look forward to trying this again, and possibly trying with our ducks!
This, more importantly, serves as a reminder of how fragile life can be. Always appreciate. Stay humble & kind. Work hard. Stop and smell the roses. Do what makes you happy. Live every day like it's Saturday. Those of us who are lucky enough to be here, are only here for a short while. Make the most of your trip around the sun.