The mother hen had been providing warmth for the chicks by keeping them under her wings at night, but sadly she was killed two days ago by a very large bird of prey that swooped out of the sky and attacked her. I arrived on the scene just in time to scare off the bird and rescue the baby chicks, but sadly it was too late for the momma.
So now I'm playing the role of the momma hen, and I've got the chicks in a warm place, safe and secure in a nice large kennel container that I've stocked with straw, food and water. The chicks are doing really well, and they had enough time with their mother to learn scratching behaviors and other survival basics.
The cold weather means there won't be any snakes trying to eat them, so I put their odds of surviving to the spring at very high... especially since I'm feeding them a diet better than most humans eat! They're getting hemp seeds, flax seeds, moringa and organic chicken feed:
These chicks were hatched here on the ranch, of course. I prefer to raise chicks naturally with their own mothers so that they can learn the skills they need to find food and survive.
To their credit, these chicks did a great job of evading the bird that killed their mother. They hid deep in the grass, and I only found them because they called back to me after I made the food call that I always train our chicks recognize. If they hadn't called back, I never would have found them and they would have frozen to death. In effect, they literally called out to a human to be rescued, and that's the only reason they are alive right now. Wild, huh? Nobody can tell me that chickens aren't conscious, thinking beings. I've been around them enough to know they have personalities, memories, fears, happiness and a wide range of conscious experiences.
Here's a quick video of these chicks in the container where I'm raising them at the moment:
Why you need to secure your own food supplyI raise chickens to produce eggs as a sustainable food source. My chicks are free range, of course, and their diets are supplemented with food scraps, healthy seeds, chicken egg shells and organic chicken feed. Because we have a rooster, too, this flock can continue to produce new baby chicks that become egg layers within a year.
If you're considering raising chickens in the spring, I strongly urge you to pursue it! Raising chicks will teach you a wealth of wisdom about working with animals, protecting their health, producing renewable food, predator defense strategies and much more. Better yet, you'll have your own supply of better-than-organic eggs to enjoy every day for years to come.
Raising hens will make you a far more self-reliant person, and in an economic collapse scenario, you can barter eggs or even barter the chickens (if you're willing to let them go). I don't raise chickens as a source of meat, but many people do.
Every predator is trying to eat your chickensOne of the most difficult lessons you'll learn while raising chickens is that every predator on the planet wants to eat your chickens as a meal. Here in Texas, the predators we routinely deal with include raccoons, owls, snakes, hawks, wild cats and coyotes.
So far, I've only lost two hens to large birds, but the snakes really take a toll on baby chicks if you don't lock 'em up tight in snake-proof cages.
If you're raising chickens in backyard suburbia, you'll also have to deal with either your own dogs (which think your chickens are delightful chew toys) or your neighbor's dogs. Neighborhood cats can also kill adult chickens, and the smell of chickens will bring cats to your area that you didn't even know were around.
You might lose a few chickens to disease, too, but I've found that a focus on excellent nutrition wards off most disease. None of my chickens are vaccinated, of course, and yet I've never seen infectious disease of any kind spread across the flock. (Vaccines aren't needed by a healthy organism because the immune system creates the antibodies on its own.)
In hard times, you may even find looters or desperate neighbors stealing your chickens for food. That's why I encourage you to consider the security of your chickens as an important part of any long-term preparedness plan. Sure, your chickens are safe right now because no one needs to steal a chicken when they can buy chicken nuggets at the grocery store. But after the store shelves are wiped out, suddenly your backyard chickens look a lot more enticing to people who are starving because they didn't prepare.
Raising chickens is also humblingThere's another benefit that comes from raising chickens: it's humbling. It's nourishing for the soul. You know those books called "Chicken Soup for the Soul?" The title is all wrong, in my view. It should be, "Successfully Raising Chickens for the Soul!"
Yes, you'll get to enjoy the privilege of shoveling chicken poop. You will have to bury the occasional dead hen. You'll cringe over the loss of baby chicks to predators who got past your defenses. Some days you'll wonder where all the eggs went (hint: they hide them in secret places so you can't find them), and on other days you'll regret the hassle of picking up more bags of chicken feed.
But in the end, you'll be a wiser, more adaptable and more fulfilled person because of the experience. Raising chickens isn't merely about the chickens, you see... it's about how the experience allows YOU to experience personal growth!
As a side benefit, you'll have a renewable source of protein in the form of chicken eggs, and that's one less thing to worry about in a food shortage or economic turmoil. Couple your chicken efforts with some home-raised fruits, veggies and starch sources (such as potatoes) and you've got more self-reliance than 99% of the population.
Someday, you see, all the lives of all those chickens you saved may repay you by saving you from starvation. That's why I treat these chickens -- and all forms of live -- with the utmost respect and compassion. If I can save lives and prevent suffering or death, I will make every effort imaginable to achieve that.
Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/047656_Health_Ranger_baby_chicks_food_supply.html#ixzz3ZdLqInJJ