One thing you can count on when you’re a farmer is that part of the ‘deal’ is saying goodbye. Although we’ve been pretty lucky, we’ve had our share of sadness in losing animals to predators, illness or just plain old age. But when you breed animals, as we do, there is another ‘goodbye’ that happens when the young ones go off to their new homes.
I’m so often asked if it’s hard to say goodbye to animals that have been born and bred at the farm. You bet it is. In the last few years, we’ve been lucky enough to have had puppies, kittens, and horses born at our place. I’ve managed to be there for most of the births – and each and every time it’s truly a miracle. When you’ve been at the birth, helped clean them up, warm them and get them suckling when necessary, brought them back from the brink when possible – it’s hard not to get attached. We are ‘small batch’ breeders. What I mean by that is we do limited breeding to make sure we can really give enough attention to mom and babies when they’re born, as well as get them socialized to people and other animals. One of my greatest joys is having kids at the farm to play with the newborns.
To watch the natural connection between them is truly amazing. It’s very much a labour of love for us.
For both puppies and goats, we wean at 8 weeks old. So almost as soon as they are born, we start letting people know that they’ve arrived. We currently have a list of over 100 on our waiting lists.
It’s very important to us where our babies go. So I spend time talking to and/or emailing with prospective buyers to get a feel for them – to make sure they understand the commitment required and get a sense of what kind of home the babies are going to. We encourage buyers to stay in touch, ask questions and let us know how its going. I’m always thrilled to get pictures of how the kids and puppies are doing.
Sometimes there are heartbreaking stories – a freak accident where a goat lost its life…but those are rare. More often we hear wonderful stories. This year the people who bought our puppies had all had a recent loss of their Bouvier. These new puppies were helping to fill the holes their predecessors had left.
So, when I’m asked if its hard to say goodbye? You bet it is! But I’ve discovered that goats, puppies, horses and human kids do indeed have wings. And when they fly and are successfully embarked on their new lives, it’s a thrill like nothing else.
Signing off with a great big heartwarming picture of Jennifer, Willow, and BonBon in their new home…