Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hard days on the farm...........

Some days on the farm are just harder than others. I do fairly well dealing with my emotional connection with my animals. I know who is here to stay, who is here for awhile, and who is here just temporarily. I try very hard NOT to get attached to the ones I know won't being staying forever and also know that things do not always go as planned.

This big Hereford heifer, fondly knows as Missy has been one of my favorites from the time I brought her home as a calf over three years ago. I have a special affection for red cattle and she is the type who just grows on you. She gets along with everyone in the pasture and seemed to be the particular favorite of the donkey. They always buddied up together.

My plans for her was to grow up and become a "Mother" cow. To raise a calf every year for either meat for my table or for sale in our farm shop if we didn't need it. It wasn't meant to be. Time and time again we tried to breed her. She just would not settle. The only issue the vet could find was the her cervix was unusually small. He didn't like that. She was 3 in April and I knew that I needed to make a decision.

With the scarcity of hay and the price of what is available, I've been cutting back on animals that I didn't absolutely need to fit our farm business plan. Yesterday I delivered Missy to the Butcher shop. I did not cry. I wasn't heartbroken but it was the first time that I was honestly sad. I missed her this morning at chore time. When the steers went to the butcher I was ok - that's what we raised them for but I didn't want that for her.

Life goes on and it's another busy day here - we are off to fetch more hay to ensure the animals eat well this winter.

It really does pay to have a plan B in the farm business. We will eat very well this winter as well.

15 comments:

lisa said...

I know how you feel. The bull calf we got this weekend did not have a good beginning the farmer we got him from said that the momma died, and when they found the calf it had a bad cut on its top line about 5 inches long, along the its top line to the tail head but it doesn't want to get up and I have to prod and try to stand it up to feed it. It is still drinking milk but I will have to call the vet in to get some penicillan in it and hopefully we can save it!

threecollie said...

I also know where you are coming from. One of my very favorite cows injured herself right after calving this year....badly...she was very old and it was touch and go whether she would live at all. Of course she dried up.
In good times we would probably have either let her stay around dry for a year or let her live out her life on the farm (she was almost 14). Because of the financial situation though I had to beef her a couple of weeks ago. I knew all the time I was hand carrying her food and water and nursing her that the best outcome I was going to get was to sell her....but....
Anyhow, take care. I'll bet thinking of you.

Paintsmh said...

That is sad :( I get so attached to mine. I am hoping I can get my old original Jersey cow settled. She is always a problem. And this year she wont even cycle. Cows can be so rough on the heart.

kristi said...

I admire your strength as I know I just could not do it. I have thought about it esp. with all the ram lambs I had born this year but for now they are going to be little wethers. Hay is $3.00 a bale so that is helping me this year:)

Nancy K. said...

at least she was loved...

Michelle said...

I applaud you for making the tough decision, even though, like Kristi, I couldn't make it. That's why we don't have cows or other "meat" animals. Hey, I'm a vegetarian for a reason!

Deb said...

it must be hard..glad you were able to handle it so well

ga.farmwoman said...

I know exactly what you are talking about! I know exactly how you are feeling.
Exactly.

Pam

DayPhoto said...

Somethings are just so very hard. We lost a wonderful cow to cancer. It was a long sad story, her ending. One I wouldn have NEVER ever picked for such a good friend and a delightful cow. I could tell you so many things about her that were fun, and cute, and precious. But you know them. You had your own.

People who say stupid stuff like cows are dumb, cows don't smile, cows are just animals, really don't know what they are saying. They don't. And I feel sorry for those people.

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

Callie said...

Raising buck kids was the only part of having dairy goats I didn't like. The does we could keep or sell to be milked, but raising those cute as pie buck kids knowing they were freezer bound was rough on the heart. It hurts, but needs must.

Shula said...

Well at least you can look at the positive side of it, and a as a farmer it is probably a fact of life. My first year breeding lambs I was unfortunate to get 5 rams and 1 ewe. 2 rams went for meat. I cried but at least they had a good life until then, and I had tried my best to rehome them. Sometimes it is the only choice. Well done for making it.

Adkins Family farm said...

It's tough to not get attached to an animal you feed daily and take care of. Just like you said I always try to distance myself from animals that I know that are not going to be here that long, but I always miss them at feeding time and watching them eat and play. I'm almost to kind hearted to farm but that's what makes me a good farmer is to really care about animals and give them a good life while they are here.

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Farming is tough, you have to have a heart to love your animals, and sometimes it gets broken when we have to make the tough choices.

What a beautiful cow - she is repaying your kindness by sustaining your family.

Deb said...

Thank you all for taking time out of your busy days to leave a comment - I appreciate them all :)

I know I can come here and "talk" to folks who understand about my animals and the way I feel about the farm. Sure can't do that just anywhere!

I'm "ok" with my decision this morning and know it was the right one for the farm. I resigned myself years ago to the fact that the lifestyle I love wasn't always going to be easy but it was always going to be worthwhile. I still feel that way today.

Thanks again - I do appreciate it.

Have a great weekend ~

Deb

Gayle said...

Farming can be so heart-breaking at times. Like you, if I know the intent is to slaughter I am okay, but when something happens (like the dog who killed all my chickens) I just cry for them.

I can't believe kristi gets hay for $3 a bale. And how much for you? If I go to the feed store it is $16 a bale. If I drive out the farms I think it is $9.