Monday, July 12, 2010

What to do about a dead chicken

They told us when we ordered our chickens to plan for five percent loss. With careful planning, we nursed those babies to adulthood without a single casualty. They were all born on the same day, October 6, 2009. Then on July 9, 2010, I left 100 degree heat in the garden and took a lunch break indoors. The neighbor's dog waited for me to disappear and bounded into the yard, scattering the flock. The flock that gathered around my garden fence, waiting for me to toss them cherry tomatoes and blackberries, maybe even a too small watermelon.

I was furious and sad, kicking myself for taking my eyes off the birds, and mad at the neighbor's wife who came over to help search for scattered birds, simply because she owned the culprit. We safely collected 12 birds, one rescued from the jaws of the dog. One was found later in the neighbor's yard, mangled and dead.

How do we face the fact a pet is dead? We weather multiple emotions for several days then realize we move on. Sometimes we get another. Sometimes it's too painful. Sometimes we forgive the dog (and owner) who did the killing, assume some of the responsiblity ourselves, and we keep on raising chickens.

When a story doesn't sell, sometimes it's meant to die. Every successful author has a story that never sold. It's could be a bad story or a manuscript filled with bad writing. The market timing could be wrong. The author might not be seasoned enough, and the constant rejection could be a sign that more writing needs to pass under the bridge before a contract can be had.

You can grieve the rejection, get angry at the rejector, or accept it and decide to better raise the rest of the flock.


Carol J. Alexander said...

I'm so sorry about your chickens. I know what it is to lose beloved farm animals. Now you must watch out for that dog.

Rebecca G. said...


I follow your wonderful writing/gardening life/tips faithfully--and joyfully--and wanted to tell you how sorry I was to read of this sad incident. Dogs just do what they do, but that doesn't make it any easier.

I'm sorry.

And I thank you for being able to share the wise advice about writing/loss forward.

You do it wonderfully.

Rebecca G.

MaDonna Maurer said...

Sorry about your loss...

Thanks for the wise wisdom about writing.

Nancy Julien Kopp said...

Sorry about your chickens, Hope. But I was glad to see the part of this post that sheds light on something writers often tend to overlook. Some stories are not meant to be published for various reasons, and when that happens, it's time to file it and move on to another one. Sounds easy, but I think it's tough for some writers to admit.

quietspirit said...

I am also sorry that you had this experience. And you are right, some stories aren't to be published. There are some that shouldn't even be told.