We all got home and began to settle in. Of course, all of us went immediately out to see how much the chickens grew while we were gone and to also collect our egg for the day. They all seemed to be doing okay, but I noticed one was squatting down and not really moving a lot. We did not think to much about it and enjoyed watching them roam the yard and do what chickens do. About an hour later, I was working on some school work with the kids and Hannah comes running in the house saying that Ole Yeller is dying!! What in the world!! Scott got up and went outside to see what was going on. I continued school with the rest of the kids because I thought surely it was just some kind of a chicken thing that Ole Yeller was doing and Hannah had mistaken it for her death. But sure enough, the next thing I know, I see Scott carrying Ole Yeller by her legs across the yard to the burial grounds. So, I let the rest of the kids go outside and see what had happened and get the story. Hannah recounted seeing Ole Yeller lay on her back and kick her legs and turn around in a circle. After a complete autopsy from PaZ, it was concluded that she had died of cancer of the reproductive system and a possible heart attack.
We could not believe it. Scott and I could only look at each other an just shake our heads as to what else could happen to these chickens. One thing did have me thinking over the last few days about this situation. When Hannah had come in to announce that Ole Yeller was dying she was not crying as she had the past two deaths. Dawson noticed and commented to me, "Why does Hannah get so upset over the little chicks dying and not over Ole Yeller?" Good question and I did not really have an answer. Even the rest of our family did not seem as traumatized by the whole death as we had the previous two. Are we just morbid? Is it just part of being a chicken farmer? Or have we slowly become calloused to the death of our chickens?
The later question is what has my heart stirring. You see the slow and familiar idea of the death of our chickens has begun to become a part of our lives as we raise chickens. This is not unlike our familiarity with those around us who are dying a spiritual death. It seems that when we first become Christians we want to share with everyone around us the gospel message of Christ's death on the cross for our sins. We initially want to share Christ with everyone because we do not want them to go to hell. However, over time we become calloused to the spiritual deaths of so many around us that we slowly stop sharing the gospel. Our tears, pain and hurt for the eternal separation from God that those around us will spend after they die does not seem to affect us the way it did in the beginning. Yes, sometimes we will go on mission trips and God will renew his heart's desire for the gospel to be shared, but we come home and again fall into the same state of being. So, I have been under conviction the past two days and ask for you to pray that I will have opportunities to witness and share the gospel with those around me. I wanted to share with you a song that is sort of a prayer for me.
Just in case you are thinking we are totally out of our mind for letting our kids go through this. Just remember that "back in the old days" kids grew up on farms where they had to sometimes even kill their own animals to put them out of their misery. I do not want to end on a sour note either. We did replace Dawson's chicken, Rocky, with a new chicken Pebbles. Despite the rudeness of the other chicks, Pebbles is now doing much better and running with the "in" crowd. Here are some new pictures. Enjoy!!
Ole Yeller after her death
Our Lame Chick
Chicks in the morning
Lil' Red Waiting to get out in the morning