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.