Saturday, June 20, 2009

Down Side of Farming

We finally had 5 turkey poults hatch out yesterday only to lose 4 of them to a damn raccoon last night. I was so psyched to post about the success today and even got some photos last evening. There was no sign of the rest of the babies, but there was the unmistakable sign of coon scat. Grrrrrrrr.

We lost our first goat this spring as well. Poor little Cocoa, on top of the truck cap in the photo, was down one morning when Jim went out to feed everyone. Her pupils were fixed and dilated and she was having convulsions. I was positive she'd been poisoned somehow, because it was so sudden, but I just couldn't figure out how. I scoured the area they'd been and couldn't find any sign of diarrhea or vomiting, which would've been likely with some of the known problem plants. But nothing, and this was fast.

The other day, I think I found my answer in the potato patch. Loco jimsonweed. I could be wrong, but the symptoms certainly fit. Goats are usually really good about not eating things that are poisonous to them as long as they have plenty of other browse and grass. I'm not sure how or why she ate it, as they'd been rotated to a fresh paddock. It was young when she ate it, but she was tiny, so it wouldn't have taken much.

I don't think I would have identified it without the telltale flower, and the plants in the pasture never mature enough to flower before being mowed. I knew we had some horse nettle and some other nightshade, which is what I thought this was, I'm sure, but there's a distinct difference in the flower. After doing some research, I found that supposedly the drought we had a couple years back brought this plant back into prominence regionally. One more weed id under my belt, but at what a cost.

At any rate, losing animals is the down side of farming, and I really hate this part.

11 comments:

Jody M said...

I saw jimsonweed for the first time last year, and now it seems to be everywhere. Do you know if it is safe in compost? I think I threw a few very small plants in my compost bin accidentally....hmmm.

Christy said...

I'm so sorry Danielle! How terrible to loss a goat. I'll keep an eye out for jimsonweed. How many goats do you have now? It looked like a few in the picture.

Miranda said...

Damn raccoons is right! I just lost my first animal, too, to a raccoon. One of the chickens and it was my fault - a design flaw on the tractor. My intuition told me to deal with it and I ignored it. That night she was taken right off her roost. :-( Sorry about the poults and goat. That sucks.

Madeline said...

Oh Danielle! Damn. Gillen was losing his poults when they were under the mama's care so now he has to immediately take them to the incubator (well, he did - I think that's it for the season). But that incubator has issues too. Once, all the cousins were visiting and we went in to check on Helen's chicks in the incubator and all ten of them and two poults had died - overheated due to a malfunction. Horrible part of farming.

sugarcreekstuff said...

So sorry for the losses at your farm. Racoons have been a problem here in the past, now it seems to be a fox who has no problem sneaking around in daylight. Argh!

Gina said...

I'm so sorry too. You said it so well: Definitely the down side to farming. We also have had a difficult year with multiple losses and I came very close to giving it up. Still plugging along, though.

I hope you're able to hatch out more turkeys.

Alex Polikowsky said...

that is the part of farming that sucks the most.
I think Raccoons need to be gone out of here too. We lost so many kittens to those dang things.
Now all my cats are spayed and neutered by an organization and when I need more farm cats I just adopt from them cats that are inadoptable to homes. So its a win/win situation.
Now we found out they made holes in the corm bags over the winter and ther is moldy corn in it and no wonder may cows are cystic ad can't get pregnant.
I have a really hard time loosing animals and Brian knows that but it is so part of it. I will never get used to it.
Sorry about your loss.

Adkins Family farm said...

I hate that jimsonweed with a passion. It just keeps growing in my garden and I just keep pulling it up. I don't know where it came from but I wish it would go back. I think raccoons are a nuisance. My mother has an entire family stealing her bird feed and drinking her hummingbird feeders dry. I've had them kill many chickens before. I'm really sorry to hear about your goat and your baby turkeys.

karl said...

loosing animals stinks, every time...

Shari said...

I was always worried about my goats when I had them. They were willful, smart, and into everything. Hope you're not dwelling on the "what if's".
BTW, I'm getting ready to butcher some Cornish Rocks for the freezer. It's my FIRST time. Any tips for developing the right frame of mind for this task? Should I sew little black hoodies?

Hadley said...

Have you thought of shooting the Coons? I have killed two this week, one RABID for sure, the other was a probable. Same for Mr. Fox, he is a little more crafty, but I have found that a Kimber Varmint in .204 Ruger or even.22 Hornet calibers does him in nicely at longer ranges.

It saves the food, makes things safer by removing two of the prime vectors for Rabies, and great fun, it also is good for teaching the kids good shooting skills.