When farm life isn’t so pretty

Some days are full of jumping lambs and kittens, but not all days.

When you raise animals you have to accept that death will always be present.  Sometimes by choice, (when you want to eat a lovely rooster soup), sometimes because of old age or sickness, and sometimes for more violent reasons.  And sometimes nature only does half, and as farmers we have to finish the job, (of course when I say we, I mean the man we pay to help care for the animals, lets call him R).  Male animals in particular are good at breaking bones, ripping skin, or drowning there chosen target.

This morning while we were getting the girls ready for school I heard cats fighting.  When I looked out the window a large orange cat was shaking are little Darwin like a rag doll.  I chased him off, but Darwin had also run off and the trail of blood only led me so far.  Darwin came back 15 mins later and he seems to have a cut under his chin, but otherwise okay.

After dropping my youngest off at school I checked on my dad’s new puppies.  His dog was on the “pill”, but still got pregnant and had 10 puppies two weeks ago.  They are all fat little things, but one of them was half the size of the others, and of course this is the one my daughters thought was the cutest.  When I looked in this morning I saw that this one had died in the night.

And if that wasn’t enough, when I got home R came up to my house with a piglet.  Always bad news when an animal is brought to the house.  This past weekend I was bottle feeding a piglet because it was weak and cold.  (He went back to his mom but died later in the week.)

But back to today’s sick piglet.  Very fat, too fat and R showed me how the little piglet had been born with no anus.  (I know how horrible! didn’t know it was possible!)  R thought maybe we could “make” him an anus, (argggg! Sorry, you really don’t want to picture that!)  I checked on the internet and it is not recommended.  It is also possible with a blind anus that the intestines are not formed.  So I decided we (he) should put it out of it’s misery.

And it is only 10am.

However this is a hundred times better than what I was doing at this time last year, sitting with my youngest in the hospital the day after her operation for peritonitis.

My oldest cries when animals die on the farm, my youngest is more practical, “we have lots, it’s okay” she says.  It is sad when animals die, but you have to have perspective of the things that are really important.  also in my experience, I have found that when an animal dies on the farm another animal is born, usually in the same week.  Life and death are balanced.


6 thoughts on “When farm life isn’t so pretty

  1. Small farms really do matter in the world. And this quote of yours is yet another piece of evidence of that fact: “I have found that when an animal dies on the farm another animal is born, usually in the same week. Life and death are balanced.” Indeed. Life and death are balanced. And what better place to learn of the “beauty” of this natural balance than a farm? A small farm. Where the relationship between humans, animals, and the natural world is close and easily learned and appreciated.

    • Thanks for the comment. I was starting to think I had gone a bit too far, scared everyone away! I have always felt that my daughters are learning much more than “where their food comes from”, they learn about seasons, time passing, and trust. The gentle nuzzles from a goat as you clean her teats so her kid can drink, or the mean goat who bites when you do the same thing. Balance and trust.

  2. Sara says:

    What a terrible birth defect! I’ve never heard of that before. How awful for the little piglet.

  3. Lydia says:

    I see a lot of horrors working with animals too. Working with animals is intensely good and intensely sad, you’re right, it balances out.

  4. L Allen says:

    Nothing puts you in touch with the cycles of nature like farming does.

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