We lost two more roos this past week. Uhg! And we had house guests at the time who wanted to know, (perhaps interpreting our seasoned acceptance of a farm animals untimely deaths as a something like callousness toward loss?), how often does a critter kick the bucket around here?
We're learning as we go, and even though we try our darndest to give our critters the longest, happiest lives possible, shit happens. Like our surprise litter of bunnies, born in January. Had we any idea that Goldie was in fact a boy and had impregnated Cinderella, we could have moved them inside or at least better prepared the hutch for the babies' coming. But we didn't and we couldn't, so we lost them.
And now it's the chickens that we're struggling with. Our last Polish rooster just up and died, as did Queenie the Turken, who turned out to be a roo, but didn't live long enough to receive his name change. :( We're not sure what's happening. We've just started letting them out in the run daily, and we've recently switched them up from crumbles to pellets. Is it too much change too soon? Who knows.
To answer our guests' question, we did a hasty, grim count of our critters that have passed on since we established this little farm in August. I believe we arrived at 29 souls. Sheez! That's more animals than we had altogether when we moved to this place.
Most of that number are chickens, including the evil roos that did not die naturally, but ended up being someone else's dinner. Only one was a goat, and she was stillborn, though she looked tiny but perfect to my biased eye.
All of the passings have been met with sadness, but I think that over time I've become somewhat tempered to the gutting despair of a loss by the recurring guilt and shock of it. You can't have a stay-in-your-pj's-and-cry day every time a chick doesn't make it. The kids don't tend to take it as bad as they used to, but every once in a while a "special" animal dies and they lose it a little. I hope that they are never hardened or take lightly the passing of a life, but I do hope that their little spirits aren't dented by this life too much either.