Day 7: September 2, 2023

I am thoroughly shocked I’ve made it an entire week on these reflections. I hope you’re enjoying them (or at least, getting a laugh from my novice motherhood shenanigans).

This afternoon, a lovely military couple from good ‘ole Facebook Marketplace hauled off our beautiful chicken coop. 

We took a monetary loss overall, but I’m grateful for the bit of homesteading experience it gave our family! We are determined to farm chickens again one day!

Remember a couple of days ago I mentioned a tale of chicken murder? Well, I didn’t want to leave you wondering about that for too long, so here’s the story:

When we moved to Beaufort, Caleb found some $15 plans online and built this large solid-wood coop completely alone. The guy is handy. Praise God for masculine and creative men!

Soon after he built it, we picked up five sweet chicks from the Tractor Supply. They were about 3 inches tall and sang the sweetest little chirps you could ever imagine.

Our cats, Judith and Johnny Cash, wanted to devour them.

Since we didn’t have a coop or warm barn to house them in, our initial predator protection program included housing them in a large plastic storage bin behind the closed door of the laundry room.

This worked exceptionally well, the chicks grew quickly over the first couple of months, and the smell was bearable as long as we remembered to change out their bedding every so often. The cats only got in one time . . . imagine my surprise coming home from Mass to two cats staring curiously petrified at the tiny chicks (also petrified). They were all too afraid of each other to move a muscle!

Thanks be to God, my cats are notoriously useless hunters. In Pensacola, they chased and failed to catch all manner of flies, gnats, and the occasional slimy frog.

The chickens were feathered enough to venture outside about the same time as Caleb put the finishing roof on the chicken coop. We gladly escorted their stinkinesses to their new outdoor abode–and everyone rejoiced!

The chickens loved pecking around for bugs and eventually began producing four eggs a day (plenty for our family–Abigail eating the majority of them).

Naturally–things had gone so astonishingly well the first time around–we decided this Easter to buy a new group of four chicks. This time around, Abigail was old enough to ask to see them each morning and evening, “Chichins?” She loved to point out that two of them were “yeyo” and two “bact” (yellow and black).

We waited for as long as we could stand the stinky smell again and moved them outside to our porch. This time around we were antsy to get them out to the coop because we had had one of our original five chickens taken by a mystery animal a couple of months previous (RIP Sunnyside. You were the kindest of them all).

So we moved them out to the coop with the big girls. And they hated each other.

We didn’t realize that establishing a pecking order included such intense bullying. This had never been a problem on our little homestead. The original five chickens were quite cordial with one another and only occasionally bickered. But this bullying was anger pecking and we didn’t like it.

For a couple of weeks, we locked the older chickens in the enclosed run and the younger chickens inside the coop. We figured this might help the former get used to the idea of sharing with the latter. I suppose it just made them even more territorial.

When we finally opened the door to the coop for the older birds, they were glad to have their nesting boxes back but ticked to see the little chickens. They chased them and pecked them and squawked at them. We didn’t intervene much because all of the chicken literature I read indicated this was normal and would take weeks to mellow out.

One fateful morning, I went outside to feed and water the chickens. And there was the small, yellow, crumpled body of one of the young chickens. I was heartbroken and immediately ran inside to Caleb.

We inspected her little body and didn’t see any signs of bleeding or lost feathers. Our wishful-thinking minds told us that she had simply died of heat exhaustion (the temperatures were in the high 90s).

Unfortunately, two days later we learned this was not the case. Caleb heard a commotion outside and ran to the coop to find one of the small black chicks half-dead and trying to get away from the enraged murder chickens. I’ll spare you the gruesome details, but she had an injury from which we knew she would not recover.

But neither of us had the heart to end her suffering (in the future, this is something I will have a plan and the tools for). We called the vet and made plans to take her in to be euthanized, but upon going out to load her into the crate, she had expired.

This was the last straw. With a newborn and a toddler to wrangle, we could no longer justify owning these murder chickens.

We gave the remaining two young chickens away to some friends from church. It was a tearful goodbye, mostly filled with relief as I knew they would be safe with their flock. A week later, a kind man came to pick up the murderers. I warned him of the crimes that had transpired, but he assured us that his rooster would sort any issues out between his hens and ours.

Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

Genesis 1:26

In the end, it felt like our chickens had dominion over us. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say, perhaps we should have removed the young chickens earlier and reintroduced them in the fall.


As far as I’ve heard, our former chickens are thriving in their new homes. 

We’re going to wait a little while before trying again.



This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you choose to make a purchase through one of my links (at no cost to you). See my disclosure for specifics.