In our effort to be good stewards, of our money, our time, our family, our earth, there inevitably comes a time when the right thing to do is also the hard thing to do. A time comes when you have considered, weighed, prayed and researched and there doesn’t seem to be another way. You just have to do the hard, unpleasant, heartbreaking, right thing.
Last night, one of the new chicks was trampled by the others and broke it’s hip. The little one was in pain and couldn’t walk to get food and water. I searched poultry websites and forums for a way to help it, while Mr. Modern Day Pioneer tried to gently help it move. It was rather like chicken physical therapy. Surgery is rarely successful when they are so young. If we left it with the others, they would peck it to death if it didn’t die of dehydration. If we separated it, it would be unable to regulate it’s body temperature and die, even if it had access to food and water. (Chicks warm up by huddling together.) So, ultimately, we decided that the kindest and most humane thing to do was to kill it – as quickly and painlessly as possible. Even after making this decision, we sat and brainstormed, trying to postpone the deed. However, the desire to be as good stewards as possible to the little birds in our care, outweighed the discomfort in the task at hand. It was so sad! But, Mr. MDP took care of it, despite his sorrow. Even the few days we’ve had them (only 4!) has been enough to form an attachment and a responsibility to them. Now, I know that chickens do not have immortal souls, or even self-consciousness, but WE still have the divinely appointed job of managing well the creatures that come into our care. So, in the same spirit that propels us to give away any cats that wander into our lives (so they don’t get creamed by the trucks on our highway here), we did what we could to save that chick suffering.
May this part of our stewardship be rare and yet, may we always put the well-being of our charges before our own comfort. May we always do right by them, even when it hurts.