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Old 10-02-2009, 12:39 PM
1,297 posts, read 3,158,802 times
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I kind of figured this was going to happen...as the economy tanked and more people began to raise their own livestock and be homesteaders, I am seeing more and more abandoned animals. Worse yet I am seeing more animals that need to be down, and yet they cannot bring themselves to do so.

Case in point was a donkey that I thought would protect my sheep. That donkey turned out to be more harmful to the sheep then coyotes! So as promised, I called the lady who loaned me the donkey and she came up and got him. Instead of taking it home, she gave it to someone else. She could not bring herself to do the right thing and have it put down. If I had known it was going to be passed off to another person, I would have smoked the animal myself and got the dangerous animal out of existence. For society, that is what's right.

Then a few weeks ago I had a person drop off a Ram. Same thing, the ram was very nasty but they could not bring themselves to put it down. I figured with my vast farming experience maybe I could help educate it, but 3 weeks in it was apparent this was yet another animal that needed to be taken out. It smashed through the boards of my sheep shed 3 times before I decided it was a 3 strikes and you are out sort of deal, and shot the thing. If it's too dangerous for me to get around and my knowledge of animal behavior, then imagine if it ever got loose and someone else got tangled up with it.

And in years past I put lots of cats and dogs down for people. They lacked the money to pay the vet to do it, and so they came to me, gave me a sad story, I did what they wanted, handed them back (in a box of course as I refuse to do the digging) and everyone was glum, but did what had to be done. But in 2004 I had to stop. I did something like 300 kills that year alone and was tired of the same old stories and all the killing. I'm not about that. I told people I retired from it, and pretty much did. I was just sick of it.

The point is, if you decide to take any animal, whether it be cats, dogs, sheep, goats or cows...take care of them. Every animal has costs so if you cannot afford to keep them, don't get them. Yes you can raise a beef cow for 50 cents a pound when its all said and done, but when you slaughter it, it will cost you an upfront cost of $500 bucks. You might not have that kind of cash then...or the room in the freezer for it...so plan ahead. And hay, grain and shelter all costs time and money too.

Be wary of getting odd-ball animals too. Many can not be easily slaughtered or sold to the masses as was promised by snake oil salesman pitching their greatness. Alpacas, Emu's Bison and other rather niche market animals come to mind.

And unfortunately animals live far shorter lives then we do. That means its your responsibility as a animal owner to take care of that animal from birth to death. Yes I said death. Don't pass the aged or sick animal onto someone else. I realize its a hard thing to do, but I also realize it is something YOU NEED TO DO! Take it to a vet, or do the animal in yourself, but euthinization is just one more aspect of animal husbandry. It should not be left for someone else to do.
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Old 10-02-2009, 01:59 PM
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Great post !

Also the cost of getting rid of dead animals ( large animals) is getting more costly.

When I was a kid, if you had a dead cow, the rendering truck would pick iit up and give you a pencil and notepad as a thank you.

Today I just got a letter from the rendering plant regarding their prices and policies.

$35 per animal if over 30 months old
On animals under 30 months---------$35 per stop
horses------------------------------$150 per horse

Regarding raising animals for meat-------I served on our co-op board ( creamery and meat processing )

We had to make a new policy regarding people who had the co-op come to the farm,slaughter the cattle or pig, and process it.

We had too many " hobby farmers" who couldn't pay the processing cost and thus could not take their meat home.

It was stored in a locker, they were billed a low locker rate, yet still we had too many lockers full of meat for people who didn't/couldn't pay their processsing bill.
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Old 10-02-2009, 02:05 PM
Location: Central Texas
20,490 posts, read 38,410,774 times
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I've had to put down two horses in the past few years. Our soil is not deep enough before you hit rock to bury them here (or else I would have done it - these were my friends and one was my sister of my heart), so we had to pay for having them hauled off, as well. Total per animal for euthanasia (I've heard too many stories regarding what happens when you shoot an animal and don't know what you're doing) and disposal came to between $300-400.
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Old 10-02-2009, 03:28 PM
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TX Horse Lady...

Fool proof method. Draw an X on the animal, with one line going from the right ear to left eye, then draw a line from the left ear to the right eye, (figuratively of course). That gives you an X that marks the perfect spot to hit the brain. Its over instantly. They just collapse.

As for burial, you do not need to have deep earth either. Composting dead animals is a safe, fast and acceptable way for burial. In fact in some areas road-kill is now composted. In less than 4 months time a deer carcass will be rendered down to nothing but bones, and only big ones at that.

Since I have sheep, and getting rid of the slaughtered carcasses (called offal) is very hard to do. You can put some funky parts of beef into an array of products, but lamb and mutton is a very different issue. That means offal disposal is higher. I get rid of my own offal to reduce costs, and use composting to do so.

Its also the only way to 'bury' a euthanized sheep that meets its demise in winter where our soil freezes. No shoveling when frost is 3 feet in the ground.

My Scrapie Certification recommends composting livestock deemed to have contracted and been killed by euthanasia or by the disease itself...composting kills the disease fortunately. It even calls for composting the soil tainted with the disease.

As you can tell, I am a big fan of composting, but feel free to tell me, "You are full of compost Brokentap!" (LOL)
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Old 10-02-2009, 04:20 PM
Location: Portlandia "burbs"
10,234 posts, read 14,176,908 times
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I grew up on a dairy farm. Farm life, even a small 'gentleman's farm', is NOT for the squeamish who cannot abort a threatening animal when needed. Farming requires acts of responsibility in ways that they don't take into consideration. If there is a refuge center within a reasonable distance that is willing to take these particular animals to 'save', then fine 'n' good. But those are few and far between.

Some states disallow one's ability to control his farm, and California is a good example with it's ban on killing coyotes. I still remember the harm done to cats and fowl by coyotes, and this is just wrong.
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Old 10-02-2009, 05:43 PM
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I wonder if the same people who can't afford the cost of dead horse removal are the same ones vehementky opposed to horse slaughter plants.
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Old 10-02-2009, 06:05 PM
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
34,460 posts, read 43,314,558 times
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Originally Posted by marmac View Post
I wonder if the same people who can't afford the cost of dead horse removal are the same ones vehementky opposed to horse slaughter plants.

Probably, they're also the ones who move to rural areas and immediately get a dog which they then let run loose even if they live in a small town because it's "the country".
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Old 10-02-2009, 06:55 PM
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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This thread should be required reading for hobby farmers. I'd rep you, Broken Tap, but I gotta spread the love.
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Old 10-03-2009, 06:25 AM
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I'm a sheep farmer (and a few cows) and I have never had a coyote hit my sheep and neither has my family who have raised sheep since we came over on the Mayflower (literally). Dogs killing sheep...huge problem as a dog was the only sheep killer we have had on this farm.

In fact nationally there are more sheep kills from domestic dogs then coyotes, but when a sheep farmer talks to the owner of the dog, "Oh Fluffy would never harm a sheep." Oh yes they would. I love dogs too, but they are pre-wired to hunt and when given the opportunity, you giving them doggy treats and dressing them up in clown suits on halloween is going to take a back seat to instinct any day. They will chase sheep, which can cause abortion in a pregnant ewe, or cause heart attacks from older sheep.

As for required reading...I always thought no-kill-farms though a popular term in 2009, is a misnomer. There is no feasable way to have a livestock derived farm and be no-kill. (obviously you could be a corn farmer without livestock and be no-kill but you know what I mean). The most effective method you can use to ensure a healthy flock/herd is via culling. Got a sheep that continuously gets out...cull. Got a carrier of hoff-rot...cull.

It kind of nicks my sheep though that today, now that farming is a vogue occupation again, everyone wants the title. Some of us poor souls remember the 80's and 90's where when you said you were a farmer, you did so under your breath, or in a whisper, so that only one person could hear you. Oh my it was embarrassing to be a farmer...an occupation then that was lower then whale poo.

Now though its fashionable to be a farmer so everyone wants the title...even "urban farmers". I concede you can have a vast greenhouse on top of a big high rise and raise enough veggies to be a true urban farmer, but if you have a laying hen in the alleyway...oh my, you are not a farmer. You aren't a farmer either if you have 2 goats and an apple tree. You are a homesteader...which has its place...and more people that can devote land to raising their own veggies and livestock should...rather then lawns or golf courses, but a farmer...sorry, that you are not.

Sorry rant over, but I have worked too hard, every day for the last 35 years of my life to have someone make a mockery of the profession.
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:38 AM
Location: West Coast of Europe
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Poor animals...
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