The past week (and a bit) has been a bit of a journey. A William Tell Overture with a swan song and minor key change/REM song interspersed.
For where there is livestock, there is deadstock. Maybe not something we like to discuss but it can (and will) happen.
In the process of collecting the sheep in so I could shear, the wee dude was spotted. Now, our Jacob sheep are a friendly bunch. They generally run towards you or just keep on with their grass cutting job when you go near them. So to have a sheep not run away wasn’t overly concerning. However, when I went to get him to join the others, I knew something wasn’t right. A bit of investigating and after the diagnosis, the discussion was made to put him out of his misery.
Now, I realise some don’t understand how I can raise stock that ends up on my plate but I would say, that is so much more easier than dealing with an animal that is not well. They often don’t let on that something is wrong, they can’t communicate the extent of their illness/pain and so with that, it’s often left to knowledge, experience and guess work on knowing how to quickly treat (or ring a vet). Those of us with livestock like our animals to have happy and contented lives and we want them to end them well, not in pain or stress. I could have put him through a lot with medications etc which may or more likely, may not have worked causing a drawn out conclusion. And the advice I got before the decision was made, was to make his exit as swift as possible.
So, what did I do? I phoned a friend to come for support. We have the means to humanly put down our livestock if we need it. That doesn’t mean it makes it easy so figured the best way was not to approach it (the task, not the sheep) on my own.
But it’s not just the first phase that is easy. Once you have a dead animal, you then have to get it taken away. So here is the massive thank you to the Fallen Stock Collection man (aka knackerman). His is not a job for the faint hearted. Funnily enough, it’s also a career I never heard spoke about at school. When he did arrive, it was not a hot day he came but his lorry certainly had an aroma. A chatty guy and one able to tell the the do’s and don’ts of dead-stock management. Not what I had pictured needing to do while the. Crofter was away, that’s for sure.
But the croft still goes on. And for several days, a Mini Crofter has been asking me if the knackerman was coming back. No son, hopefully the knackerman visiting will be few and far between.