• Kate Clinton

The Great Chicken Disaster

The first animals we purchased, when we moved out to the country and started our version of a farm, were chickens. We carefully selected them from a website depending on their plumage (feathers for those not versed in chicken) and the color of egg they laid. Who knew there were so many choices for egg color! Blues, greens, an array of browns, pinks and the list goes on. They arrived at our small country post office as day old chicks. Fluffy and adorable, peeping away in the special shipping box. The kids held the boxes in the car, carefully protecting their new little balls of fluff. When we got them home, we had to dip each chick's beak into the water and food so they knew where it was. Instinct took over and they would eat and drink like ravenous beasts. It was weeks of cleaning cages and getting them new food and water numerous times a day.

When they finally became teenage chickens, with all their feathers grown, they got to move out to the coop. Everyone at the house would be on pins and needles the first couple nights they were out there. It was like sending the kids away to college! Would they remember where the food was? Would the older hens pick on them (literally, as in pick out their feathers)? Would they be surprised when they laid their first egg?

The kids have named each chicken. They carry them around and take them special treats. Over the past couple years, we have lost some due to foxes taking them as tasty treats, cars running them over as they tried to cross the road (how ironic), and natural causes. We had 24 chickens in our flock until about a month ago. And just when you thought, “Where is she going with all this chicken talk?”  I will get to the point. By now, you can figure out how much each chicken is loved by our family.

The kids were still out of school for Christmas Break when tragedy struck. The chickens free range for a couple hours a day and were out doing their chicken things, when Carley saw a hunting dog terrorizing the flock. By the time we got outside, that dog had already killed 5 and severely wounded 4. We couldn't find the rest of the chickens. The yard was covered in feathers. The dog was killing and wounding for fun. And that was our chicken family, raised from day old chicks and carefully named. The two matriarch hens from the original flock, Woody and Henrietta, were by the basketball hoop in a feathery mess, dead. We collected the injured ones and set up a triage unit in the garage. The kids dressed the injured chickens wounds and coaxed them to eat. We set up electric heaters, that doubled our electric bill, to keep them toasty. We waited for dusk to come to see how many chickens would return to the coop. 15 came wandering back that night, having escaped the dog attack.

Our family was very upset. Why would a dog come and kill our pets for fun? Yes, dog people, I know why. The chickens were like little squeaky toys running all around the yard and that dumb dog was following its instinct. But it still stinks. We are still nursing 4 chickens with deep wounds. Carley, our 11 year old, has taken over most of the care. Thank God, because it makes me want to gag!

As I thought about the 2018 Chicken Disaster, I immediately thought about the Devil. After all, 1 Peter 5:8 tells us to “be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the Devil walketh about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” It can be nerve wracking to think about the Devil's existence in our lives. It isn't a lovely thought. But the truth is he is there, wanting to destroy. Destroy marriages and families. Destroy peace and love. Make you doubt your faith. Be comfortable with your sins. You need to recognize his existence and his goals. Take the steps to guard yourself and your family. Job 1:7 “The Lord said to Satan, 'Where have you come from?' Satan answered the Lord, 'From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.'” If you have Jesus, you have victory over Satan. James 4:7 tells us “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you.” The Bible is full of verses on how to defeat Satan through the power of Jesus. Romans 16:20. Ephesians 6:11-16. Matthew 4:1-11.

Put on your full Armor of God. Those chickens, our chickens, were defenseless. They didn't recognize the threat. You and I are not defenseless. We have been warned about the threat. Stand strong. Fight hard. Be courageous in the victory Jesus has already given you.

UPDATE: Carley, who wants to be a vet when she grows up, was able to nurse 3 out of the 4 severely wounded chickens back to health. Mrs. Hen, who was wounded the worst, is growing back feathers and became the boss of the flock. Well deserved, I would say. We are thinking about renaming her Rambo Hen.

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