Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Hard Part About Keeping Livestock

I have wanted to live on a farm ever since I can remember. I've wanted to raise livestock for a very, very long time. Before I started keeping chickens, I had no ideal about the realities of livestock ownership, like the bad parts. Sometimes the bad parts happen because, well, sometimes critters die of illness or old age or even a really determined predator. But sometimes, livestock can get injured because of bad judgement on the part of the stock keeper.

I've been keeping chickens since 2010. I lost 3 chickens in 5 years - Cheeks (unknown, just found her body in the pen), Wizard (unknown, I was laid up with a broken leg. Again, found her body in the pen), Paco (egg bound and euthanized). Now here at the farm, I've been here 5 months. In that time, I've lost 5 chickens:

Bossa Nova - died of old age, I suspect.
Ivy - killed by the roosters, I'm pretty sure.
Phoenix - killed by the dogs.
Spot the rooster - slaughtered by me, for meat (stringy but good rich stock)
Captain Crunch - Injured by the dogs, mercy killing by me.

Finally after 2 unnecessary deaths by dogs, I have fenced off the barn from the dog yard. I should have made that decision sooner. I should have never allowed the dogs access to the barn if the chickens were roosting all over in there (which they persisted in doing despite my attempts to keep them safely on the other side of the dog gate). I'm responsible for the suffering and death of two sweet and innocent hens, three if you count the hen harassed and killed by the roosters. My fault. All I can do is make sure I never allow that to happen again.