Warning: This post contains images of dead animals. Feel free to skip this one if you think you may be squeamish. But please tune in to the next one for an uplifting post on climate deniers and climate heroes.
It seems the last five months have been about death on our farm, and the neighbouring properties. It started with the dead sheep over the fence – I’ve counted around 30 so far – dating back to July.
Here are three dead ewes at the bottom of a land slip.
During the long, damp, cold winter we bottle fed two lambs. Babe was an amazing friend for our daughter and as spunky and loyal as a dog. He died overnight of pulpy kidney with no warning. When I found him the next morning I was devastated. I have not cried that hard in a long time.
Then Babes step brother, Sausage, died of the same condition last week. I did not cry.
Along with these two lambs I also found three others dead on the neighbour’s property. About a month ago this ewe died leaning against our fence and left an orphaned lamb. We rescued the lamb and rang the farmer, but he’s got bigger issues to deal with than collecting a lamb. She is still with us for now.
It’s strange how you feel sorry for some animals when they die, but kill other ones intentionally to eat. This lamb is in our freezer.
Pests are another huge issue for us. I buy rat poison by the 3kg bucket. Along with killing mice and rats, even the odd possum will overdose on rat poison. But the main way I kill possums is with a “humane” possum trap that breaks their necks instantaneously. I think it is a great tool, manufactured locally and reusable. I have anchored it to this frame and put it on our roof because that’s where most of the possums go at night.
We have tallied about six possums so far, and the numbers will only increase as we move from spring into summer.
All of this death, I have to admit, has hardened my once sensitive feelings about cute little fuzzy animals. I have always been an animal lover and have rescued countless injured creatures during my life. Nowadays I shrug when I see that our cat has killed a baby rabbit. From the earth and returned to the earth – all creatures great and small.
I remember agonising over the first chicken I killed for dinner. Now it’s easy, especially after dealing with all the heartbreak over this winter. Thanksgiving is on the horizon and there are three roosters on the menu.