Death on the Farm

Have you every wondered if animals know they are sick or dying? This has been a tough week for us. We lost two very nice boar goats two days apart for no apparent reason. One was Elvis which Karl wrote about here March 3, 2008 (picture on that site). Friday Freda, one of our donkeys was not feeling well. The next morning she was dead. I know that life is a circle and that all things growing and living today return to the earth to nuture the next cycle of life, but I still miss my animals when they die. Last year we lost Hooch the pig and Walker the sheep.

Some religions believe that animals are sacred and have souls, going to some pleasant place when they die. That is a nice thought and I hope its true. I envision it as a pasture that is always green and lush with large shade trees by a creek of fresh cool water. It still will not make me miss them in the pasture when I am there checking on the cattle and other animals. I kind of think that those left behind must know about the passing of a pasture mate and it surely must affect them in some way.

We have another donkey named Simone that was a gift to me by my children for Christmas years years ago. She is a marvelous donkey and I care for her very much. She and Freda were best friends and were seldom far apart. I know she must be at a great loss. I think I shall get her another friend in the next few weeks so she will not be so lonely. A new donkey will not make up for the loss of Freda, but it will make us feel a little bit better.

A few years ago we had an older cow have twin heifer calves. A day or so later she got sick. As the vet was working on her she dropped dead. Her two calves had to be bottle fed and never had the pleasure of being with their mom. It did not seem fair.

Some would say I am too emotional or attached to my animals, but as a farmer you can not help but be that way. Every day you see them, take care of them and are concerned about their well being. Time heals, but I will miss Elvis, Freda and I will miss the other unnamed goat just because his presence is no longer in the pasture. Its tough saying goodbye, even to an animal on the farm.