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Raising to Butcher

Do we feel bad about raising animals for slaughter?

The short answer is, yes.

However, we also know that we do not want to be vegetarians or vegans. Nothing against those who are, it is just not, what we prefer.

We treat our animals with the utmost respect and we try to make their lives as comfortable as possible. By allowing them to be in grass fields munching together on what the earth provides, they get the proper vitamins and minerals that they need naturally.

One of the supplements that we do have to provide are salt blocks with selenium, only because our area does not have enough of this nutrient. We have lost a few babies to selenium deficiency in the beginning. This is all part of our never-ending learning curve. Also called “white muscle disease”, a selenium deficiency causes progressive paralysis, which leads to cardiac failure.

A big hurdle that I had to jump over was that the sheep could not be my pets. I quickly had to decipher between what is a livestock animal and a pet. The sheep could not snuggle in bed with me like my dog, nor be ridden like my horse. But they sure are cute!

The best advice given to us as young farmers was to pick a select few that could be pets, and let the others be considered livestock. That is what we decided to do.

My husband has his favorite ewe named Emily, I have mine, which is Gemma, and most of the bottle lambs get a name. By putting more of our focus on these few animals, it makes it easier to send the others off to slaughter. When I say it like that, it does seem a little harsh.

Nobody said self-sustaining was going to be all sunshine and rainbows!