Thursday 8 February 2024

Where There Is Livestock There Is Always Deadstock.

 It's  an old country saying but true.  Ask any big farmer or a smallholder like me.  Every year animals die.  Some may be old and world weary and some are born dead or born with a philosophy of "failure to thrive" wrote in invisible ink across their foreheads.

It's a bit like growing your own vegetables.  Somethings do well and some do not.  You are always fighting against the weather or some disease or the "flickers" like the snails and slugs eating your crops.

My late father once told me a story about my uncle going into the horses house and the cart horse dropped dead in front of him.  He rushed to the farmhouse and told my grandfather what happened and he said: 

" What will we do?" 

My grandfather looked at him and said:

"We will just have to get another one!"

I suppose country life makes you pragmatic and stoic? Like my late mother use to say:

"What do you do when the holes in  your shoes let water in?"

20 comments:

  1. Oh dear. Have you just lost one of your animals?

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  2. Yes, country life makes one down to earth for sure and pragmatic. Regretfully many people don't understand this.

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  3. No not for a few months JayCee. It's all part and parcel of keeping livestock. Piglets born a sleep are a really sad sight. I don't like sending them to the butchers but you have to get use to it. Plus we then get them back and cook them and eat them. It's knocked out the townie in me. My grandmother would kill a chicken and pluck it and place it in the oven and go to church and come back and sit down and eat her dinner produced by themselves. That's farming the old fashioned way.

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    1. Although we were townies, my dad kept chickens in the back garden. He wasn't keen on killing them but needs must as they say.

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    2. Yes JayCee. I kept bantams for their eggs in our back yard. Working class people often kept rabbits and fattened pigs in their backyards or allotments for meat. I know lots of West Cork farmers who buy their milk, meat and fruit and vegetables from the supermarket. I knew a sheep farmer who bought New Zealand legs of lamb from Lidl because it was cheaper to buy than his lambs would be to slaughter and butcher.

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  4. That sounds like I send dead piglets to the butchers. I meant to write also I don't like sending livestock to the butchers.

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  5. Yes Rache I agree and l I thought of you when I composed this post and hoped you would comment. I do enjoy reading your anecdotes about growing up on your Norfolk farm. It would make a good book.

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  6. I'm serious if you write it I will buy it Rachel.

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  7. My dad used to tell a story about when he first knew my mum, he went to her house to collect her one day and she was holding a towel and drying her hands. She had just been drowning kittens. I'm part of the evidence that it did not put him off.

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    1. How do I answer that Tasker? Obviously your mum was made of stronger stuff than us. I suppose that's the way it was? Thanks.

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  8. I'm reading a book that tells about a poor family during the great depression. They had (of all things) a beloved parakeet. The mother was cleaning the birds cage and her five children were playing with the bird. It landed on the hot woodstove and let out a shriek that the book's author can hear to this very day. Quick as a wink, the mother lifted the stove lid and and dumped the poor bird in the woodfire.

    Her children were all very upset by this, and she said words to the effect of 'your emotions should never permit you to allow an animal to suffer.'

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  9. Thanks Debby. I am sure it mentally scarred the children but I am sure they knew or grew up to appreciate where there mothers actions came from? Phew. Some tough lady!

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  10. I left a comment but it has probably ended up in Spam.

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    1. I can't find it YP. But thanks for commenting anyway.

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    2. You may have accidentally deleted it when you were drunk.

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    3. Who is Drunk? I do not not know them.

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  11. It's true, where there is livestock there is also dead stock, country children raised on farms know this and accept it as a part of life, but it comes hard to some city kids who might just visit and see their very first animal death.

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    Replies
    1. Very true River. Rose tinted spectacles of the countryside soon disappear when keep livestock.

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