Warning: This post is not for the squeamish. The following may contain pictures that may be disturbing to some people.
Yesterday we spent the afternoon with chickens at my friends farm home about 40 min. from here. The kids got to hold the new baby chickens only a week old and try and catch the older chickens holding their wings down so that they would stay calm in their arms.
They got to see some of the chickens that were nesting on their eggs and feel how warm the eggs were with little chicks growing inside.
This was a beautiful chicken with a lace like pattern in black and white.
We found one egg that had been cracked in the nest and was not going to make it. The little chick inside was still alive, but not for long. Even though it seemed sad to see the little chicken dieing before our eyes, it was also a wonderful lesson in nature and the cycles of life.
Here is the poor little chicken still in the yolk sack. We could even see a slight movement in his little legs for a few minutes. The kids were mesmerized by it, but didn't seem to be disturbed. We learned that this is a very common occurrence with chickens and I was glad that the kids got to witness it. We also learned, which I didn't know, that the yolk is actually what the chickens eat in the egg until they hatch. We usually get our eggs from a farm so we sometimes see a little red dot in the egg when we crack it. We found out that this little red dot is the beginnings of a chicken. Those eggs are fertilized when you see that dot. All this time of eating eggs in my life, I never knew that.
Then we took a walk around the farm. It was so relaxing and made me feel so connected to the earth.
And here is the rooster that was not so happy with us being near the chickens. He was afraid that we were trying to mate with them. Ha! He wanted them all to himself. I have to say that this was such an inspiring trip for all of us. We learned so much about where our food comes from and felt a definite connection and gratitude for all the chickens of the world. These were surely some happy ones. This was another great homeschooling day.
I just hope more people and farms will get on board with this type free rage chicken raising. When you see for yourself how happy chickens can be, you want that for all chickens. They give so much to us, it is only right that we give them a life worth living. I get my eggs from a local farmer, and I am sure you can find a local farmer that you can support by purchasing your eggs and chicken from them. You are not only helping the chickens, but you are nourishing yourself and your family in the best way possible.
Check out the Weston A Price Foundation for some local resources.
I encourage everyone to go visit a local farm raising chickens in this way, of get your own chickens in you backyard. If you have the space, why not? Think all of the fresh eggs you'll have.