February 14, 2011

The Dark Side of Raising Livestock

This weekend we had a doe kid with premature kids. They were beautiful buck/doe twins out of our young buck. They were not planned but once we realized she was pregnant we were very excited to have them. Sadly they did not make it through the weekend.
This is the sad reality of raising animals. It is the part they don’t tell you about and the part that is hard, no matter how many years you have been doing it.
What is interesting to me is how different I feel when I lose a newborn kid as oppose to when I send a kid to the butcher. When I send a kid to be butchered I feel like I have given it a good life. It got to spend several months playing with its siblings and with its mother. It was able to run around freely without a care in the world. It slept in the warm sun, jumped off the straw bales, and climbed on anything it could. Overall it had a good life. Maybe it was a short life, but to the best of my abilities it was a good life.
The newborns who die never had that shot. They were taken from their warm womb into a colder world and weren’t able to get past that point. They never got to have a life. They never had the chance to run with their siblings or sleep with their mother.  It just seems overwhelmingly sad. The two kids this weekend were particularly sad because they tried so hard to live. They kept breathing and eating until they couldn’t last any longer.
I know this is part of reality. I know that life and death happen. Kids are born and kids die – this is the cycle of life. We’ve learned to not get too attached until we know they are going to live. Kids don’t get names until we know they can make it. We really try to buffer ourselves from being too torn up about these loses, but somewhere deep inside I still feel sad. On one hand I should get used to the death, but on the other hand, being sad makes me a little more human. I never truly want to become so callused that these lost little lives don’t affect me.


  1. Aw, they are so handsome! The second picture is great. <3

  2. And that was supposed to go on pictures of bucklings, obviously.