We are not an urban farm

We are not an urban farm.

I would love to be an urban farm.  I have chickens.  I have rabbits.  With a little (ok, a lot) of work, I could have vegetables in a few years. 

Still, we are not a farm.

I went away for a lovely weekend in the mountains with some girlfriends.  I came home and one of the dogs had mauled a chick.  Of course, it was Stella's favorite chick, Caramel.

Caramel was alert and seemed happy as Sandis carried her around the house wrapped up in a towel.  You might be thinking, "well, there must have been something wrong for the chicken to put up with that."  But no, they are used to being toted around, even riding in bike baskets.  The girls made her "Get Well, Caramel" cards.

Later I was able to check her out.  It was bad.  I was pretty sure her upper leg bones were broken.  She had one bite near the top of her leg where it met her back where there was a large hole and you could see all her muscles.

It was really bad.

Somehow I steeled myself against taking her to the vet.  Partly because of the high bill that would be inevitable but also because I didn't feel confident that there was a lot that could be done for a chicken in her condition.  Sure, maybe with several thousand dollars, CSU could have operated on her leg, maybe.  But to what avail? She could have easily died from the treatment. Or even simply as a result of her injuries despite treatment.  I told Stella that a vet couldn't do anything more than put her to sleep, and I truly believe that.  I wouldn't, even with unlimited funding, put a 10 week old chick through a surgical ordeal that she would have a slim chance of living through.

That was Monday. 
On Tuesday, Caramel passed away in Stella's arms.

You may think I have already proven, through my even considering a chicken vet, that I am too soft hearted for an urban farmer.

But wait, there's more.

Yes, Caramel has been cremated and her remains will stay with Stella forever, just like Sirius'.  For some reason, having the ashes gives Stella comfort and a sense of closure.  One that no one else in the family feels.  For us, the photos, the memories, that is what matters.  For Stella, that physical having of the ashes is important.


Now, as a side story, I must tell you about Stella's amazement at cremation.  When we left the pet crematorium yesterday, she asked where they would bury Caramel.  I was confused, bury her? She was being cremated.  I told Stella that after they burn the body, they put the ashes in the box for you and there is no body left to bury, but we could bury the ashes, if she'd like.  She responded, "THEY ARE GOING TO BURN HER!!!!"  Apparently, this step in the process somehow slipped by in Stella's mind.  She wasn't sure how they got the ashes from the body before burial, but it was NOT by burning.  Trauma on top of trauma.


As another side story, Brian never again wants to raise chicks.  The poop, the children carrying the poop machines around the house, the getting the two groups of hens used to each other without killing each other off, the dying and cremation...it's all too much for him.  Maybe we'll buy pullets the next time around.


And Amy, if you are reading this, don't worry.  It is totally our fault for not paying attention to the dogs in the garage and letting them get at the chicks.  Next time your pups come, the chicks will be in with the big chickens and it will not be an issue.  It was one slip-up.  Not a great one, mind you, but not your or your dogs' fault. (and we don't know for sure which dog anyway)


Did you know that clicking is scientifically proven* to be good for your health and well-being? True**! And you can vote for me and my blog by clicking! Coincidence***? Improve your health today by clicking here.  Or here.  And once again here.  Just for good measure, click here.  Your body will thank you later****!

Fine print
*       - not even scientifically studied.  If it has been, I have not read about it.
**     - not true
***   - totally NOT a coincidence
**** - your body won't care at all.  Thanks will not be forthcoming.


  • Deanna | April 26, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    At last, a kindred spirit - BRIAN. Fucking chickens and their poop!!

    (Sorry about Caramel, but it's sort of hard to believe since I just called them fucking chickens. BUT I am sorry, because I know how sad your girls must be...)

  • April | April 26, 2013 at 7:17 PM


    ((Shawn)), you are definitely not an urban farmer.
    A farmer would have butchered Caramel and had fried chicken for dinner. ;-p

  • Tracy | April 27, 2013 at 12:08 AM

    Bella would have wanted a chicken crematEd too. She still sleeps with Sadie's ashes next to her bed and the stuffed doggie I knit with hair from Sadie. And we had to take a tour of the crematorium before we cremated Sadie so that Bella could see how it happened. That was a bit much for me but essential for her grieving. Sigh.

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