A major part of the homesteading that we’re doing this year, is living off our land and knowing first-hand exactly where most of the food that we’re eating is coming from. And in the last few weeks, not a meal goes by that I don’t see my wife make a trip out to the garden a few minutes before, to pick lettuce or spinach or radishes to be part of the lunch or dinner that she’s making. And every morning of course, starts with a trip to the henhouse for fresh eggs.
But this morning when I came in from feeding the cow and doing my daily chores (and drinking coffee in my barn while I read USA Today), I walked in to the kitchen to the familiar sound of bacon frying in a skillet… and the not so familiar view of a live chicken sitting in our sink.
It turns out that one of our hens was sick. Joey had heard some noise when she was bathing Indy and looked outside and to see one of our hens huddled in a corner of the pen as other hens were pecking at her. The hen was what Joey called “egg bound”, and she was worried about her. So there she was at our kitchen sink with rubber gloves and olive oil…cleaning out the mama hen’s backside.
I watched for a minute or two, then decided that maybe I should just concentrate on turning the bacon (and taking pictures) and let Joey and the hen have their private lady-time together (I felt the need to protect my child-like concept of the eggs magically appearing in the roosting boxes each morning).
A half-hour or so later, as my wife and I sat at the table, eating our breakfast… a chicken stared at us from the sink (Joey had her bottom soaking in warm water to soothe her). Her little beak was almost smiling.
Sometimes we hear from people who aren’t big fans of the fact that we raise chickens for eggs and some also for meat. But today watching and listening to Joey talk to and care for her sick hen… it was easy to see that long before the day comes when my wife “harvests and serves” her chickens, she “loves and serves” them daily.