Ever considered throwing in the towel, and done it?

Sweetened

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I have said countless times to innumerable people: "The key to farming is going to bed having quit, and waking up a farmer."

I quit last night, and woke up jobless.

Losing kids, potentially losing dams from those same complications, putting down goats that come up inexplicably sick or dying the day after they showed no symptoms, it has all really taken its toll, and there is no one to blame but myself for decisions that get them there.

About 6 months ago, I ended a friendship with a family because I believed they were negligent and unwilling to learn from mistakes. They lost all 15 lambs born on the farm, plus bottle lambs, several ewes including one who prolapsed after FF to a 14lb ewe lamb (deceased), their goats are left in with bucks year round when weather is not condusive to it and wander, literally, 7-10 miles away from home because they are not confined in any way shape or form. Of 200 meat birds, 7 made it to butcher, their 3 pigs are STILL not butchered because they won't make weight as they are only fed hay -- they are 2.5 years old and smaller than my 6 month old oat fed pigs. My last straw with them was their great pyr's embedded collar.

And now here I sit, mulling over my last two months. Bear, one of our outdoor dogs, euthanized after getting into porcupines for the 4th or 5th time, after escaping an 8ft high kennel I had installed a topper on because he was escaping the day before, for no reason. Odin died inexplicably; I was loading hay into the buck pen and heard the most painful, horrifying bellar coming from the shed. Necropsy revealed nothing. His guts were working, his urinary tract wasn't blocked, he was full of food and water, his liver and other organs appeared fine, just as he did the day before. The only thing we could see was his ears had frost bite, and he died the day after we had the +3C to -33C overnight. Edward and Pearl died because I didn't tube them and I made the assumption they were getting enough, and last night I put a bullet in Oscar, my buck for next year, because I found him sprawled out and seizing when we went in to deal with Tootsie's teats. He was mildly dehydrated, despite having watched him drink water. He would be 8 weeks today and this morning would have been his last bottle. He wasn't growing, but was eating well and consuming water. So either I weaned him too quickly, he had that G6 gene, or something else is going on. We don't have a parasite problem this time of year, and I usually treat once when it hits 10C regularly as we end up with a flare up. I cannot figure out if it's my well water, which is not treated, but everyone around here is on the same aquafer and raises cattle and goats and so on on it.

I am tired of death. I never wanted to be that friend I walked away from because I believe if your animals suffer under your care, you must be rid of them, that THAT is your obligation: to provide a life without suffering for those in your charge. Death is part of farming, but this... this is too much. At this point, once the girls are healed from their scabs, they will all be sold and I will be out of goats, except for the pet buck Sven who has, thus far, survived my care. We will nut him and get him back to a pet -- it was our plan for next year anyway. Inside this is a catch 22. The farm is supposed to become my source of income, and without goats to provide meat (bucklings), milkers (FF doelings, trained to stand), milk (for cheese, soap and personal use), a large chunk of income is not an option. We will have a cow next month (which I'm now questioning), an older 12 year old dexter and her calf, but she cannot provide the same meat, milkers and milk turnaround a small herd of goats can. A heifer calf would be kept as a replacement for her and not produce for about 2 years -- a bull calf would be kept for meat for our family.

The towel is tossed. I don't know how to negotiate what to do when it lands.
 

hilarie

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:hugs There are no words that make this all right.
We've all heard them: You fall down six times, you get up seven.
This is part of life.
Hang in there, it'll get better.
Bullsh*t. I say, sometimes there's no such thing as gravity; the world just SUCKS. Sometimes you couldn't catch a break if St. Peter himself handed it to you.
It's been an unprecedently horrible winter in my corner of the world (New England) and I'll bet in your part of Canada too. That'll suck the life out of you and your animals both. It makes you weary and sick and sad, and it makes that towel wicked heavy. I too have had my worst breeding season yet this year, but nothing on a par with your losses, so I totally feel your pain over the constant setbacks and lack of light. I can't answer whether tossing that towel will make you feel lighter; I only know that, for me, much as I sometimes hate drag-assing that thing around, my hands have to curl around something, and as long as there are people like your former friends who let their collars get imbedded (I swear I see red just thinking about that), I have to keep doing this to make sure *someone* does it right, even if every birth gets F*@^ed up and those little malpresented does die and the favorites get mastitis despite your best efforts. Because no matter what I want to do, it's what I am, not what I do. Namaste, my far away friend. Blessings, and good luck
 

mysunwolf

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Honestly, I have considered throwing in the towel many times over smaller problems than the ones you are facing. Sounds like you have done an incredible job holding on as long as you did, with much more attentiveness and caring towards your animals than most people! hilarie is right... sometimes life is just an AWFUL NIGHTMARE. So maybe getting completely out of farming will make it better, or maybe it would be better to ride it out. Just remember that even if you get out of the game now, you can always start up again in the future. And seriously, I hope you get at least a few good things coming your way soon :hugs
 

bonbean01

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:hugs:hugs:hugs:hugs:hugs:hugs:hugs I have no advice...in your place, I have no clue if I would toss the towel or shred it to pieces while cussing a blue streak, or crying into it. Just sent up a prayer for you and know that so many of us care and feel for you sweetie! The saying that with livestock, it is inevitable that with that comes deadstock...is just that...a SAYING...doesn't help diddly squat.
 

alsea1

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Sounds like you have def. had a rough go of it.
I would ponder it some more before you toss that towel.
 

Chivoville

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I'm so sorry for all you are going through. All I can suggest is to take a little time to make the final decision - maybe you will feel differently once spring arrives. It sounds like the harsh weather played a big part in what has happened. Yes, I did throw in the towel a little over a year ago with my goats after we lost some triplets and I knew it was my fault...I sold the buck and literally gave away the 3 girls you see in my avatar because I wanted them to go to a good place. I regret it now.
 

Southern by choice

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Sweetened, I have been following this thread and your others.

Yes, we all know there are hardships and loss in farming, BUT only you know when too much is just too much.
Foe many of us we have had the thought of throwing in the towel. Each time I have had those thoughts it has been in winter when the mud became unbearable and all the issues and hardships associated with it. In my mind I would give it some time and tell myself this too shall pass. At the same time you are about to embark on a brabd new adventure! You are going to be a mom! Truth is your baby will need your attention and time considerably in that first year.
Throwing in the towel is not always permanent but more often temporary. Sometimes it is a season for something else.

It has been a real trial for you and so much to deal with. You can always start a new herd another time. Meanwhile build a quarantine pen and always quarantine new animals, as that one animal can and as you have seen, did affect your whole herd. very sad situation for all.

If you throw in the towel you have not failed, just realized the time is maybe not right at the moment. You care for your animals and will put their best interest first. That is not selfish, but being a good and wise steward of all you have been entrusted with.

Cyber hugs will have to do. :hugs :hugs :hugs
 

jodief100

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:hugsMy deepest condolences for your loss. Farming is a struggle, a challenge, a difficult lesson in life and death. I have been so close to where you are more than once. Last winter was tough, we lost 16 kids to the cold. Not freezing but suffocating when they huddled together for warmth and got caught on the bottom of the pile. It seemed like every morning was time to go and "bring out the dead". This winter has had it struggles too, we lost two kids to freezing but luckily none to smothering. Why I am still soldiering on, I have no idea.

So I understand where you are, I have been there. Maybe you are smarter than I, going on to other endeavors. Look at this as an opportunity, to reassess, to plan, to grow and to learn. Take a step back and look at everything this world has to offer, make your plan and go forward. You will find your path. You are smart enough to know your limits, strong enough to make the right choice and determined enough to succeed.

We will all be thinking of you, you are our friend and we will be here for you, no matter where your path may lead. :hugs
 
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