The Weekly Digs #141

by Becky
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This week started out well. We moved our chickens to new locations and they were very happy. Most get moved daily, but we have one group in electric fencing that we move less often because the area they have to roam is larger.

I have the chickens in the electric fencing in my new garden area, working on fertilizing and eating weeds.

In addition to the group of chickens in the garden, we decided to move some of the fencing around a different chicken tractor out in the front yard. The idea was to let these chickens have more room during the day and put them back in at night.

They loved getting to spread out! The kids played with the chickens for a good portion of the day.

Moss our Golden Polish Rooster

The next day, the kids let the chickens out again to roam within the fencing and they were so happy. We went inside to start school and about 2 hours later I was on the phone talking to Cameron. Kian had gone outside and then ran in saying,“Moss is dead!” The tears were rolling down his cheeks. Moss was his favorite chicken.

I told Cam I needed to go, and ran outside with Kian. I leaned down and inspected the bird. Moss was dead, laying outside the fence, no visible wounds except some blood on his beak.

I looked up at Kian with his tear streaked face and confirmed to him what he already knew. I told him how sorry I was and then gave him a long hug. He was so sad about Moss.

 We put the chickens back inside the chicken tractor because it was likely a hawk that killed Moss.

I ran back to the house and grabbed some gloves and the pick axe. After heading back to the chicken area, I asked Kian if he would like to help me bury Moss. 

He said he wanted to and we buried him by the electrical post towards the edge of our property. Kian marked his grave with a few large rocks to remember where he was.

Digging a hole

This little incident had me reflecting on a few things. The first is the constant battle of giving chickens complete freedom to roam or the alternative of less freedom and more safety.

I have always wanted to let our chickens and turkeys completely free range. But anyone who has had chickens in an area with predators to them knows that they will slowly get picked off until there are none left. 

The alternative is letting them roam within the electric netting, which helps against foxes and raccoons but does nothing for aerial predators like hawks or owls. 

We loved seeing our chickens more free but the losses can be devastating. Our egg laying chickens are more like pets to our kids. They are named and loved. 

For now, it looks like the chicken tractor wins. Cameron is taking off work next week and is planning on building two more chicken tractors. I think the key now is space the chickens out more within the tractors so they can feel more free but be safe at the same time.

I realize for some this story may seem a strange contrast given last week and how we sacrificed some of our turkeys for food. We try and make sure our animals have the best life while they are here, in whatever way they go.

Some we know from the beginning we can’t get attached to because they will be on the dinner table. While others, like the egg laying chickens, become friends and are hard to let go, especially unexpectedly like this.

O Christmas Tree

We had an interesting time trying to figure out our Christmas tree this year. I grew up in upstate NY and there were tree farms everywhere where you could cut and purchase beautiful trees locally for very little money. 

Here in Arkansas, the options are very limited and very expensive if you want to cut your own tree locally. It’s an interesting type of evergreen that they grow at the tree farm, I’m not sure what it’s called.

They are very pretty but the needles shed like crazy. The trees that naturally grow here aren’t nice fir trees like we had in New York.

I toyed around with purchasing a fake tree but I’m so particular that the ones I liked were more money than I was willing to spend. 

Finally, we decided to do as we did last year and cut a cedar from our property as a Christmas tree. We have an overabundance of them so I didn’t feel bad about cutting one down. 

We finally found a good one and placed it in the living room. Cedars are not full and lush but short, wide, and sparsely branched. It’s a very not perfect tree. 

Our tree, cut fresh from our backyard 🙂

It’s imperfections were fitting because just a few days before we picked one, the kids and I read the book, “Why Christmas Trees aren’t Perfect”. It is one of my new favorite Christmas books. Our Christmas tree now not only reminds us of Christ, but also of the service we should give to others.


I finished up freezing and canning the last of the leftover turkey. I made four turkey pot pies, turkey soup, and canned 7 jars of turkey stock. 

Turkey Stock

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Laurel M. December 5, 2021 - 4:51 pm

I’m sorry about Kian’s little friend. Our chickens are named and loved, too. I’m going to look for the tree book at the library. My sister raised the turkey for our family this year, but she doesn’t can, so I asked for the carcass to make stock and she was more than willing to not let it go to waste. She said the turkey was much better tasting this year because it was a hen. Have you noticed a difference in taste?

theseasonalhomestead December 8, 2021 - 8:44 pm

Thank you 🙂 We butchered 4 toms, so I wasn’t able to try the difference between the male and female turkeys. We kept our only hen for breeding. I will have to make note of it next year if we have females. Now that I’m thinking of it though, for our heritage breed broiler chickens, I have noticed a slight different in toughness between the males and the females. No noticeable difference in taste though. Good food for thought!

kaleigh December 6, 2021 - 3:10 am

We had a chicken loss this week too 🙁 It’s definitely harder when they’re egg layers…

theseasonalhomestead December 8, 2021 - 8:45 pm

So sorry about your chicken 🙁


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