Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Have you ever worked hard on something only to lose it in a flash?
In May I bought some hatching eggs and babysat them for 21 days in the incubator, turning them at least 3 times per day and watching that the temperature and humidity stayed just right. I ended up have around a 80% hatch, which is great for 1) a first-time hatcher and 2) for shipped eggs.
One of the eggs was this guy. He was an egg from my own flock--father, Romeo, and mother Chantel--but not a true pure breed. He was the first egg to hatch and displayed all the marking of a boy from day one, even though I don't know how to sex chicks.
I kept the chicks in a brooder in the basement for about 3 weeks, until they feathered. Then I moved them to an outside pen, where I kept a heat light on during the night and let them get some time on grass. Finally, I moved them to my new coop, where all 20 chicks had lots of space to move and a low perch to rest on.
Only a few days later, I came into the coop one morning to find 18 dead chicks and a raccoon sitting in the rafters gloating at me. The coon got away (I had no gun) and came back the very next night (really morning around 6 am) to finish off the 2 that escaped the first massacre.
Finally after several nights and lots of fighting, we caught the coon and sent it to eternal sleep, but the chicks I put so much money and effort into were gone.
Have you ever had something like that happen? I know I've heard of authors finishing a whole book only to lose it in a hard drive crash. What did you learn from the loss? Were you able to start over and do better the second time around?
I'm starting over. I now have 30 chicks brooding with another 18 eggs incubating. I've learned more about protecting against predators, but I've also learned that sometimes no matter what you do, trouble will find its way through. Then you just have to learn to go with the punches and start over.
Editor Du Jour Becky