August 22, 2006 – Livestock = Deadstock

There’s a saying – if you’ve got livestock, it won’t be long before you have deadstock. Two things struck today. We had a group of laying hen chicks in with some of our broilers that free-ranged during the day and were locked up in a building at night. The layers are much younger and smaller. Other broilers were in chicken tractors and out on the “range” in electric fences surrounding them. Linda kind of thought the numbers were going down. I had seen a wild cat numerous times in and around the building they were living.

Tomorrow 10 replacement turkeys may come, (the original 10 died in transit) so we were moving the chicks from that building to new accommodations so the new turkeys can brood in peace and be protected from the cat. Only 8 of 25 layer chicks remain! Time to find a new home for the cat!

While I was readying the brooder, Claire yells out that she thinks Blindy (the lamb) is dead. Sure enough, he was – no signs of anything wrong with him. I think that whatever caused him to be blind and have deformed feet, must have finally killed him. He was nice and blocky, fat tummy (but not bloated) and free of the runs.

I gently brought his body over to the animal composter pile, placed a layer of half-rotted manure/compost on the bottom, placed him on the compost, then covered with a bunch of hay and got it soaking wet. In a strange way, it felt good to take care of him in a respectful and natural way. It will be the first use of the new composter.