Be thankful you’re not one of my chickens. My poor hens get the pot once their egg production drops. Roosters strut off into the freezer even sooner since they tend to squabble and hurt the hens.
I mentioned to Greg that my two black marans have stopped laying thereby sealing their fate. He said I offered a meager retirement package. 😀
We have several friends who keep livestock. Most of them are practical homesteaders and ranchers, but I have a couple of friends who collect unwanted or unloved livestock. They have tender hearts and big pocketbooks.
There’s a strong chance that I’ll probably keep Brownie, the Nubian goat (and one friend) until they die. I hope so anyway. Brownie has been a gentle goat and generous with her milk. She’s years away from retirement, but if we’re still here I hope we can give her and her buddy a home until the end. That’s the least I can do for a sweet goat who’s given me many fine babies and tasty milk.
I’m less sentimental with chickens. If they stop laying, they go in the pot. I really hate to feed animals that do nothing for the farm. We barely make ends meet now so everyone has to do their part. While Brownie won’t be bred in her later years, she still makes a fine weed puller and tree pruner. I need all the help I can get in that area.
Even Nana and Jammy have jobs. Nana warns me every time the evil deer come over to feed on my hostas, and Jammy hunts down every insect. He loves to toy with scorpions, and you can’t take a grasshopper away from him. They’re like candy to him.
Unlike farm animals though, both dog and cat have lifetime retirement plans even if they slept all day. Heck, they even have a trust fund in case we kick the bucket first. These are my kids.
Livestock are my food. I take care of all my animals to the best of my ability, but when their time is over, we dispatch them with as much respect and expediency as we can. We owe them that much.
It’s not easy for people to discuss this part of homesteading, but I think it’s something everyone should consider. If you have an animal, whether it’s livestock or pet, you should have a plan in place for when you either can’t take care of them or (if they’re livestock) they’ve outlived their usefulness.
Most of my readers have pets so my question to you is, what happens to your pets if they outlive you? Do you already have someone in mind to take care of them?
We’ve got our primary caregivers, but also a secondary. Since Nana and Jammy come with trust funds, they’ll be assured of good care without being a hardship for the new family.