Lesson 382 – this is a tough one to write

This is a tough one to write.

We are one less member of our flock today and the lost member is, you guessed it, our littlest one – Alkaia. She’s the one who lived, the one we pulled out of her shell. The tiny warrior who fought back.

From a purely practical point of view, this really comes as no surprise. She’s always been fragile and even at almost 2 months old was still wobbly on her feet, behaving in ways her siblings did not. She was skitterish, flighty, and often ran to the safety of others at the suggestion of a shadow.

It could have been anything, As she grew larger (she was still roughly half the size of the others) it might have been that her heart couldn’t keep up with her growth. She might not have been able to process food correctly, she might have even had a congenital condition, after all, nature had never intended her to live.

What I do know, however, is that for the several weeks she was alive, it’s not a misstatement to say that she brought us joy. And hope.

She taught us to go for it even when things seem dauntingly impossible.
She taught us to celebrate what we all have right now – you just never know.
She taught us compassion and that one of the responsibilities of being stronger is that you have to look out for those who are weaker.

She spectacularly taught us to graciously let others help you when you need assistance.

And Alkaia also taught us to never give up. Deep within you is a source of strength that until tapped, you have no idea of the feats of which you are capable. We all have the potential to be mighty warriors.

Sure Alkaia’s time was short, but what a truly epic story of accomplishment and joy she left behind for us all to hear.

Goodbye sweet friend

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12 Comments

Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Chicks, Inspiration, Project Chickens before the Eggs, The Chicken Challenge

12 responses to “Lesson 382 – this is a tough one to write

  1. A well written tribute to Alkaia… I recently lost an older friend, more of a mentor to me. What you have written can apply to so many situations.–Thanks for sharing.

    • Wendy Thomas

      Rebecca,

      Thanks for your kind words. It is often the teachers in our lives who make the biggest impressions allowing us to gently move forward.

      Condolences on your loss.

      Wendy

  2. Cryin’ my eyes out, Wendy. Such sweet lessons to be learned when we give, when we take the time to experience. Thank you for writing from your heart.

  3. Laura

    Beautifully, written, Wendy….and now come the tears. She brought you many gifts, but you also have to believe she was given to you guys because she needed YOU and your love and your spirit and you all took the time to love her, cherish her, and celebrate her. There are many people who should be so lucky!

  4. Dealing with marginal baby chicks and beloved elderly chicks are difficult issues, especially as humans seem to be evolving to be more sentimental/compassionate/empathic [take your pick] with other life forms.

    We began with three baby chicks [from the hatchery]. One of the three was obviously not thriving. My wife used the cone and handed me the knife. Then she wept.

    Tonight the two pullets are spending their first night with the hens. The hens won’t tolerate the pullets on the roost yet. We went down after it was darked and checked the henhouse. [Up to now the pullets have slept in a segregated storage area converted to a second duplex coop.] On a previous night, the pullets got on the roost with the hens. The resulting commotion so frightened my wife that she pulled the pullets, lectured all five chickens, and put the pullets in their [safe] side of the duplex.

    I waited until dark and checked the main house. The pullets are squatting on the nexting box. The hens are still in control of their roost. All were sleepy and quiet. We set the alarm clock to 5:30 so they can get out before trouble starts. My goodness, what spoiled chickens!

    Our neighbor (who got us started with chickens) has been the one to “take care” of elderly chickens in their henhouse. His wife avoids the entire experience.

    He called us a few days ago to let us know that a hawk recently “got” one of their elderly hens. He allows the hens to wander in their orchard (which unlike their chicken run and unlike our chicken run) is not covered with mesh to protect against eagles and hawks. The whole thing, in a sense, was no accident.

    Well, I’m an omnivore. It’s our genetic heritage. It’s certainly possible (thought difficult and less than ideal) to be a vegetarian or even a vegan. Perhaps we are “self-evolving” into vegetarian-vegan creatures. It’s not going to happen by “natural selection.” Perhaps it will happen by conscious choice.

    For example, Monsanto (regarded by many organic gardeners/farmers/ecologists as the most evil corporation on the face of the earth) could probably develop a genetic modification to instill chloroplasts into our genetic system so we (human beings) could photosynthesize our own food and not need to eat meet or nor even need to grow grain and vegetables.

    Would this turn us into entirely peaceful creatures?

    Be careful of the law of unintended consequences.

  5. The pullets spent their first night with the hens. The hens made the pullets sleep on top of the nesting boxes, so the little brats would not soil their precious perch. I awoke at 5:30 am and dragged my carcass out to the henhouse at 6 am and released the sleepy hens. They groggily clumped out of the house. As soon as the hens woke up they began to chase the pullets.

    They left me the job of cleaning the chickensh** off the nesting boxes. I hope the pullets appreciate my efforts.

    • Wendy Thomas

      Yay for your pullets. It’s tough to have young ones in the house sometimes, but oh so worth it in the end.

      Wendy

  6. eelhsa

    This is a beautiful post. :) I can completely relate from my own personal experiences raising chickens and other domestic birds. I have also experienced helping a little baby chicken out of the egg numerous times. The first one I ever successfully helped was my Charlie. Right from the beginning he was Mr. Confident. I had him for about 4 years, and I loved him sooo much.

    I don’t think enough people appreciate just how beautiful chickens are, how they each are so intelligent and have their own personalities. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post and all you learned from one little chicken. I wish more people looked at it the way you do. In a world where most chickens are only valued for meat or eggs, this was one very blessed bird to be so truly loved. Keep doing what you’re doing and teaching others how special these animals really are. :)

    • Wendy Thomas

      Thanks for your reply, so much we can learn from those in our care.

      Glad to meet another chicken owner! Until you have some, you have no idea how gentle and filled with personality these birds can be.

      Wendy

  7. A tough one to write, and a tough one to read. Nonetheless, the lessons you drew from the experience are so true and so inspiring. Thank you.

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