Sunday, October 6, 2013

Don't name your livestock

   Farming has started with the keeping of chickens, the mowing of fields, and the serious appraisal of the wood lot and what part might be selectively logged. Today, the children and I learned a few lessons in farming.
#1 Don't name your livestock.  If it has a name you get attached more easily. It actually hurts when it dies.
#2  Do not tend to sick chickens in your garage. It was certainly more convenient to treat Nugget's infection so close to home, but if a dog (or dogs) get into the  garage, the chicken will not last long.
#3  As my daughter succinctly said on her fb status. Bird dogs will kill animals, but not not mangle the bodies.
   Our sick chicken, Nugget, was  in the garage in her crate and it looks like the dogs managed to get the door open, or it was not closed firmly, but they gained access to the garage and that was the end of Nugget.  Our lab mix was sitting quietly on the path outside the garage with the still warm bird between her feet, looking quizzically at it. She was so quiet, my daughter ran past her on the way to the garage, not noticing the bird.  I was a little sad, as the bird had seemed to be getting better.  The children were sad.  My 8 year old was sobbing, "But she was the only chicken who liked me!  She would let me hold her." 

My eldest does not know how to process death. it is one of the trickier aspects of his autism. He knows people should be sad, so sometimes he cries, but not until he has melted down, screaming obscenities and trying to find someone to blame.  He was going to shoot the dog, shoot the chicken, send the dog to jail...anything to process the idea of the bird that was alive yesterday being dead today.   

     So we find ourselves down to 9 chickens and we have learned some important lessons.  (Be sure to remind me of the no names lesson when we get the sheep, okay?)