Homestead Life

Yes, We Have No Chickens

Black Australorp

Chicken Free Homestead?

I recently updated the blogosphere with my not-so-self-sufficient homesteading news…I am having hip replacement surgery in December. In preparation for the surgery, and also because I’m having trouble getting around, I needed to downsize on my homesteading activities for a while.

So, for the first time since 2010, I have no poultry on the property. All of my chickens, ducks, and turkeys have been eaten, sold, or re-homed. The last of the flock went to live with my friends Momma Marcy and Farmer Trogg over at Trogg’s Hollow Farm. They are doing fine and, hopefully, they are producing some eggs for their new family.

It has definitely taken some getting used to. I’m finally getting over the feeling that I’m forgetting to let the chickens out in the morning or put them away at night. But it is still strange not to hear the hens clucking as they scratch around for bugs in the backyard. It seems weird to recycle the farm supply ads instead of scanning for sales on chicken feed and related products. (I still catch myself looking at the ads!)

Is This The End Of My Homesteading Days?

I sure hope not! I haven’t completely given up on keeping chickens, gardening, and preserving the harvest. We recently ate the last meat chicken from our freezer and I plan to use the canned chicken in our canning cupboard for soup this winter. Our frozen veggie supply is down to tomatoes mixed with summer squash. We have quite a few canned veggies too…more soup! But we will likely use up most of our stored food over the winter. At the very least, I would like to raise some meat birds and plant a nice garden next summer. I start to worry when the food stores are depleted!

Without poultry and a garden to keep me busy, I’ve had time to think about my self sufficiency goals and plans. I’m not that old and I didn’t expect to take a break from homesteading this winter, but I need to take care of my health while we have insurance and I am healthy enough to recover.

So the chicken keeping activities have been curtailed for a few months. Maybe this will give me more time to write!?!


Have you ever had to give up your chickens or garden due to health reasons? Do you have any suggestions for people with mobility issues who would like to homestead? I always enjoy reading your comments and suggestions!

22 Comments on “Yes, We Have No Chickens

  1. Hope youre doing well. Be careful rushing the rehab, ive been banged up myself and pushed the issue only to add a few more weeks to the sideline (not lol). But downsizing for a min or two cant be that bad it might actually help to refocus or redirect. It is slightly possible to have too much canned or frozen food…. idk jurys out on that one. But get healthy and try to enjoy 2018..☺

    1. Thanks for the advice! I am being pretty careful…I don’t think I’ll push it too hard. I went to physical therapy on Friday, plus I took the dogs for a walk and went to the grocery store…then yesterday I was pretty sore! So I skipped the walk and just did my physical therapy exercises. This morning I am feeling much better.

      I think that made me realize that perhaps I should not rush the job search, or maybe I can find ways to supplement my husband’s income from the garden. We’ll see. I’m not sure about my blogging either. There is a lot to think about!

      Thanks for stopping by and checking in on me!!!

  2. So how are you doing now? I see no new posts ??

    Just saw this – I’ve been on your site before, and thoroughly enjoyed it! As you can see by now with the responses, you are not alone. While not a homesteader, I am at heart a farmer. Dad came from a farming family, didn’t get that gene – guess I did. Was hybridizing irises when my health intervened – and I live 10 feet from the city line! Like you, I’m not nearly as bad off as many. And then my neighbors turned me in for zoning violations 3 times! And the deer ate my seed pods… So that was that.

    Life is what you make it. When carpal tunnel combined with poor eyesight and damaged nerves, ended my playing music, I found my hybridizing “hobby” and began serious cooking again (yes! bread baking, how I found your site!) for the first time in 20 years. When my computer company folded, I found I liked a stress free life. “When life closes a door, God opens up a window somewhere”….but sometimes it’s not as easy to figure out where it is!

    Am curious to hear how you are doing…

    1. Hi there…I’m doing very well, thanks for asking! I’m glad that you have been able to find new ways of using your talents to live close to the land. I think that’s great!

      I am doing my best to kick the physical therapy into high gear so that I will be in shape to garden again this summer. This is a little embarrasing to admit, but I’ve been feeling rather burned out on writing for a while now. I thought maybe I would be ready to dive back into blogging as I recovered from surgery, but I have been doing job searches, reading for my own enlightenment, and now I am doing some cooking from the home canned and frozen goodies I had stored up. I’m realizing that I probably could can and freeze a little bit less each summer, lol! It is great to be able to cut way back on our purchases from the grocery store as we are saving up for hubbies retirement.

      I hope that you are enjoying the bread making! I just took a loaf of banana bread out of the oven, and made a loaf of French bread earlier this week…I haven’t written about making yeast breads, although I’ve made my share. 🙂

  3. Just found your blog, and I love it. I am a new blogger myself over at I live on just over an acre in Queen Creek, AZ. Last year I had 3 big surgeries. The first one was emergency surgery, that saved my life. The next two were as a result of the first one. Those two ended up being full open abdominal surgeries, with about a 9″ incision down the middle of my stomach. I was lucky enough to have a great friend take over my chores while I was in the hospital, and for the months after while I healed. Between the first and second surgeries I made the painful decision to re-home all my animals except for 10 hens, and a duck. My birds have always been more pets than producers anyway, so all I have to do is feed, water and collect eggs now. As I am getting back to feeling better I am content with my choice, and I don’t think I will ever have large numbers again. I just turned 60, and for now a small flock, and a small garden will do, wink, wink, but maybe some bees and another goat.

    1. Hi Amy,
      I’m sorry that you had to go through so much, but I’m really happy that you were able to receive the treatment and surgeries that you needed. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

      I am reminded on a regular basis that my upcoming surgery is not nearly as scary as I originally thought. There are so many people who have much more serious health issues and I feel extremely fortunate that I ‘only’ need a hip replacement! I know that I will be back in action before long and I will feel better than I have in a long time.

      I haven’t decided if I will repopulate my coop next year…I think the garden will come first. And that will probably be much smaller than I’ve had in the past. But I do hope to have chickens again before too long. 🙂 It really does seem strange not to hear them clucking and foraging around the homestead.

      Thanks for visiting my blog!

  4. It must be quiet there! We just got chickens a month or so ago and I enjoy my morning chicken therapy! Just 6 hens as I’m still a city dweller, but already cannot imagine not having them. Wishing a very Quick recovery for you!

    1. Hi Lisa!
      Yes, it is quiet. It was bad enough when the rooster went to a new home! I do miss hearing them. Thank you!

  5. Dear Lisa,

    I had both hips replaced last year. One just before Thanksgiving and the other just before Christmas. (Anterior Hip Replacement.) I was up and walking around the same day I had surgery. Getting new hips has been a great blessing for me & my family.

    I hope your surgery is uneventful, your recovery time goes by quickly and you get well, soon! You’ll find this surgery will be life changing for you.

    God bless you.


    1. Hi Linda,
      I’m very glad to hear that you are doing well and you are happy with your surgeries. I know that it will be a very good thing for me in the long run! I’m looking forward to being able to do things, like walking the dogs and puttering around the homestead again. 🙂

      Thank you for sharing your experience and words of encouragement!

      Best wishes!

      1. You’re welcome. One night, after my first surgery, my husband heard me crying in bed. He was very concerned and asked me what was wrong. I told him that the doctor gave me my life back and I didn’t know how to thank him.

        My husband told me just to ask him the next time I saw him. I did. He wanted a jar of homemade raspberry jam. I made him a whole batch!

        (My left hip bone was fused to my pelvic bone. The pain from the surgery was nothing compared to the pain I had been in before the surgery.)

        It’s a joy just to be able to do the simple, everyday things like dump the garbage and take the can out to the road. I trust your Orthopedic Surgeon is every bit as good as mine was. I wish you a speedy recovery!

      2. That was very sweet of you to make a batch of jam for the doctor! I can certainly understand how much this has improved your life. I haven’t gotten nearly as bad as that, as the joint isn’t fused or completely unusable. But it is painful and I am really looking forward to getting back into the swing of things!

        Keep up the positive attitude! And many happy years of homesteading to you!

  6. Good luck with your surgery! I had to downsize a lot due to breast cancer this past April. (I am doing well now!) It was sad for me at the time but I’m glad I did. Lower feed costs are nice too!

    1. Hi Kathy,
      I’m so sorry that you had breast cancer…that had to be scary. 🙁 I am very happy that you are doing well now! One of the things that I keep reminding myself of is that there are so many people in the world who are facing things much, much worse than this…and it makes me realize just how fortunate I am.

      Yes, I think that even if I get to the point where I could take care of a lot of animals again, I would still keep just a small flock of hens. The cost of feed is a huge consideration. I looked at the price of eggs at the store recently and realized that organic, free range eggs from the store cost less than raising my own non-organic eggs. That was a real eye opener!

      Thank you for the kind words of support!

  7. Hello. Sorry you are going through this. Be careful about your surgeon. My hip replacement was an emergency and I had no choice of doctor. It had to be re-done by a competent doctor.
    I have 15 hens and two goats left. Had to sell our two horses because it was too much work. We got them as foals and had them for 17 years and that was hard to let them go. Our vegetable garden was non existent this year except for some potted tomatoes. So I know how you are feeling. I would miss the sound of my hens clucking and the goats bleating. That is probably in my future soon. Take heart and have faith that all will be well for next year.
    Kind regards

    1. Hi Muriel,
      I’m sorry that you had to go through two surgeries…one is hard enough! Fortunately I have had time to do my research and look into surgeons in our area. The surgeon I am using specializes in early onset osteo-arthritis and has a very good reputation. He was recommended by a friend who had both hips replaced by him and I feel confident in his abilities. The first surgeon I saw did not give me the same confidence, so I kept looking.

      I’m sorry that you had to give up your horses. I would be heartbroken if I had horses and had to give them up. I still feel bad about selling the horses I had as a kid when I was getting ready to go away to college. 🙁

      I hope that you are able to keep your hens and goats for many more years. I’m hoping that I will find ways to make the work easier for me in the future. If you have any ideas or suggestions, I’m all ears!

      Thank you for your kind words!

  8. I wish you the best of luck and a speedy recovery. You’re right, you’re not all that old, and so that being said, perhaps you will “bounce back” quicker than you think. I will be praying for you and your fine family. Keep your spirits up and keep looking at those ads for feed and so on. Perhaps this will be the opportunity to get some much needed rest while you dream of raising some exotic breed of bird!!

  9. I need to have both knees replaced and I am so reluctant to do it. I don’t want to give up all of my activities. We are building a new coop and all of our chickens are living in a neighbors empty coop for a while. I miss having my birds here.
    I wish you good luck with your hip. Perhaps you will give me the courage to have mine done as well.

    1. Hi Joann,
      Both of my parents have had knee replacement surgery. It went well for them and they are glad that they had it done. I went to visit after one of the surgeries to help out and was able to see first hand how the recovery process went. Although my Mom was in pain for the first week, she started to reduce the pain meds pretty quickly and she was up and walking the day of the surgery.

      I won’t lie and tell you that it was easy. I know that they did experience pain. But they are able to walk and do things now that were extremely painful before. I am so glad that they did go through with the surgeries because I want them to enjoy life and be able to do all of the things that they want to do.

      I am certainly not looking forward to surgery! But I am really looking forward to next summer when I can do things again that I can’t do right now. I can handle the pain…but I am not very stable when I walk. That makes it difficult to walk out to the garden or through the chicken pen without feeling like I might fall. Soooo…yeah, I really need to go through with it. I’m wishing that I had the surgery done several years ago when we had better insurance. I’d kick myself in the butt…if I wasn’t worried that my hip would give out!

      I hope that you will have the surgery. Do your research and find the best doctor in your area. Talk to the doctor, ask questions, let her or him know what your concerns are (if they don’t listen, find another doctor!), read as much as you can so you are informed. Do the exercises they recommend for physical therapy. I think that the more informed you are, and the more proactive you are about getting ready for surgery, the better your outcomes will be. Patients who have family, friends, or a caring community to depend on have the quickest recoveries. Emotional support is very important, as well as having a positive attitude. (I’m doing the physical therapy exercises as I prepare for surgery. This helps to strengthen the muscles and will make it easier to do the exercises after the procedure.)

      I can’t say that I was always positive about my situation and I put it off for way too long. Now I regret that. I guess there is hope for me!

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