The Dead Count

by Ivory Soap

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This has been a tough year for the Caswell farm.  We’ve lost:

Monty to a raccoon

Baby chick #3 to the next door dog

Spiky Hermit Crab to depression (never came out of his shell)

And the other one to heaven-knows-what a couple of months later.

And ten tadpoles…

I think we’re going to lose the other crab.  Does it count for anything that we kept alive nine chickens and two goats?


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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

nancy June 24, 2010 at 6:52 am

9 chickens & 2 goats is a huge success rate!! =) You lost 10 tadpoles but how many made it? We have release 89 froglets so far with another 5-6 to go and have had about 8 deaths. I’m sorry for your losses.

Lindsay June 24, 2010 at 8:25 am

No kidding. We finally killed the snake that ate who-knows-how-many eggs and 4 chicks. Stray dogs have killed more chickens than I care to count and 1 goat. And now the rabbits and gophers and going after my garden. But we birthed 3 baby goats (more coming next week) and managed to keep a bunch of chickens alive. It is disheartening though isn’t it?

Ginny June 24, 2010 at 10:18 am

It certainly matters to the nine chickens and two goats! Plus, at least two of those were murders perpetrated with tastiness aforethought. I can identify with the crab, there is a lesson there for me…I am sorry for your losses, though. I hate losing pets. I had to bury two guinea pigs within one week. Thankfully there were two extra-large empty oatmeal containers when I needed them. *sigh*I envy you your goats.

andrea June 24, 2010 at 1:36 pm

I’m sorry to hear about your losses. You can add your garden plants to the list of survivors. That always makes me feel better, to count which vegetables I haven’t killed yet……

Corinne June 24, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Ah, Nature. Or a similar simulation.

Heather June 24, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Nature red in tooth and claw. Yes, it sucks to lose an animal. I had 13 ducks last year. I’m down to one. On the other hand, I’ve given countless dogs wonderful, loving homes when all they had ever known was pain, abuse and hunger. You win some. You lose some. So goes life.

portia June 24, 2010 at 7:35 pm

So sorry for all your losses. Death really sucks, even when it serves a purpose.

Kathy June 24, 2010 at 8:44 pm

We initially lost one to a hawk – OK circle of life and all that. Then some pomeranians killed some and injured some. Then a big dog jumped over the chain link fence and killed all of them. I think I’m on the 5th batch of chickens, and I don’t even name them now – just call them girls. I don’t know that I would replace them if it happens again. I’ll reclaim the space and put on more garden.

JavaLady June 24, 2010 at 8:49 pm

Oh dear, so sorry to hear of your animal losses. But you keep up the good work !!

Heather June 24, 2010 at 10:04 pm

I have a confession to make.
I killed one of my own ducks.

I had 13 Muscovy ducks. OK, who knew Muscovy ducks flew? I’d get up in the morning and let them outta their pen and a few minutes later they’d be at 300 ft and circling the house. Never mind that I had a pnd for them…I think that Muskovy’s think that ‘the pond is always greener…over at the neighbors’.

Each night one less duck would return, gobbled up by god knows what. A bobcat? Coyote? Neigbors dogs?

So one morning, I was on my way to work and saw one of my ducks a half mile away. I got out of the car to try to ‘shoo it’ home. The duck crossed over to the other side of the ditch.

Frustrated, I realized that before the end of the day, this duck would end up in a coyotes belly. As had so many others. And so, I did the unthinkable.

I drove home and got the shotgun.

I decided somehow, that if anyone was going to eat that duck…well, it was going to be me.

Honestly, I did try one more time to lure the duck home. I held grain in the palm of my hand and sweet talked to him. “Here ducky. Sweet ducky. Chuck, chuck chuck ducky.”

But there was no response. Ducky just moved farther into the trees. (sigh.)

And so, I lifted the shotgun to my shoulder, pointed it. (You know you really don’t have to aim with a shotgun? You just ‘point’ it?


My little black dog made the retrieve. It was her first. (sigh) How many times had I warned her to leave the ducks alone?

Yet here I was. Giving her permission to fetch this lifeless one. She was confused only for a moment, then did as instinct directed.

It was a tough bird. I plucked it and served it for dinner.

Was that wrong?

Mary June 25, 2010 at 6:49 am

After reading this post yesterday, I went home from work and found out we had lost 4 chickens to the heat. Reading these comments make me feel a little better.

Jaenelle June 25, 2010 at 10:47 am

We have had a tough start to the year as well. In the last 2 months our dogs killed our goat, 1 rabbit, and all of our neighbors chickens. We were forced to take them to the shelter and I know for sure one was put down. On top of that we lost 1 baby rabbit and 2 fish. I hope the rest of the year improves a bit, for both of us. But keeping alive your goats and chickens is a great accomplishment despite your losses.

René June 25, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Don’t forget to count yourself and your family among your success. Taking care of yourself and your family is the whole reason you had all of these little lives as a part of yours.

MM June 25, 2010 at 4:30 pm

We are 5 months into our first try at chickens and a raccoon got into the coop yesterday night and killed one. We reinforced the coop, but I couldn’t sleep last night and I swear the chickens felt the same. Sometimes I doubt we’ll be able to keep them alive long enough to see any eggs! It is a sad and frustrating feeling.

Juliana June 25, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Looking at the picture of your crab tank, I can tell that a few things are missing to make the habitat best for captivity. Pet stores don’t always understand their care either (which makes for uninformed pet owners) so I often share this info with them too. I know you love animals and, as someone who learned how to care for crabs through trial and error, I thought you might appreciate this link on their care. Hope your second one fares better! It is never fun to loose an animal. No matter how small.

Tanya Walton June 26, 2010 at 1:51 am

my condolences on all your losses…but it definitely counts that you kept so many alive too…..

Jan June 26, 2010 at 8:30 pm

I lost a rabbit, who I think died of shock from neighbor dogs jumping at his hutch and barking while we were at the store. He was a sweet bunny. Then last week, I lost my 17 year old house cat. She was like a member of the family. We found her as a kitten, in a dumpster, behind a fast food place. She had a wonderful life and died peacefully in her sleep….but that doesn’t make it any easier too loose her. She and bunny-boy will be missed. It is always sad to loose something you have cared for and nurtured, be it animal or plant.

Melissa June 26, 2010 at 10:27 pm

I am so sorry to hear about your losses. It is hard to loose animals when you have children. They tend to take the losses hard sometimes. I have no chickens or goats, but I do have two dogs, two cats, a hermit crab(daughter brought back from beach last year), hamster (daughter brought back from college a year and a half ago), 3 fish(one perished last week), 2 ghost shrimp (one perished three weeks ago). All of my critters were so nicely donated by my loving daughter that I ofter invision Ellie Mae Clampet when she shows up with another mouth to feed. I dutifully care for each one of them. Out of the whole lot one of them is mine one dog, but she would rather hang out with hubby in the yard. So I guess no matter what type of critters you have when you lose one it is still hard on you. I do think the remaining chicken and goats and the garden is still good. Good luck this summer. Oh, and thanks for the posts. I love hearing about your chickens and goats.

Sophiathebackyardfarmer August 21, 2012 at 12:33 pm

My neighbors and I have chickens and we keep on losing them to this Bobcat. A young neighbor named him “Bobby the Bobcat”!

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