Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
72 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
After reading tansyflower's post it got me thinking about my own situation . Like a lot of others my wife and I are mid 30s small children just getting settled in and have decided to farm. I grew up on a farm including butchering our animals etc. my wife did not. I have a hard time explaining how to be careful around animals. My wife and kids think I'm crazy for being concerned about a chicken taking an eye out for feeder pig lopping off a finger Etc. I handle the animals a lot too however I follow the policy of being prepared. You can handle the chickens, lay on the pigs, wrestle with the dog you just need to understand what they are capable of and position yourself or hands to respond. I cringe when I see my kids carrying a chicken or cat right up by there face. I can tell my wife and kids do not really get it. The same goes for the butchering. They do not understand how you can care so much for an animal and then shoot it and eat it. You can tell that it bothers them somewhat that I could do such a thing. They want to farm raise our own meat and know that is part of it, but still have a hard time with it. Anyway do you think that a farmers mentality is learned or genetic? If learned can it
be taught later in life?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,201 Posts
Of course it is learned from an early age and also you have to lay down some hard rules for the wife and kids. If they go around the pigs where the pigs can touch them Make pig sticks for the wife and kids. If they touch a pig let it be with a stick.Like a broom handle. This is a serious business. You don't want anyone to get hurt. Pigs are not play pets. The only thing a pig understands is food and how to reproduce offspring. If the kids won't follow the rules they don't get to interact with the pigs. Its really that easy.:)

Best,
Gerold.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,852 Posts
Learned. I don't have recent direct ancestors who farmed. I have some 2nd and much further out cousins once and twice removed who farm but their kids don't farm. I didn't grow up farming. I learned it because I made a conscious decision to learn to farm.

It is very important to teach family members what you talked about of chickens being able to peck out an eye, pigs, sheep, cows biting and stepping on feet, crushing up against a fence, etc. The big animals especially are an issue but as you note, even a chicken can be an issue. That's their ken.

Stay safe,

-Walter
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
72 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I am hoping that they pick it up eventually and don't have to have something happen to really understand what I am talking about. I can have all the rules in the world, but if they think that I am just being paranoid they are likely to break them. I suppose genetic wasn't the right word. Perhaps personality trying to say some people cut out for it others not.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
241 Posts
I cringe every time I see pics of a cute little kid snuggling a chicken. I got pecked by a chicken at a very early age. The lesson stuck.
Regarding the pigs, I do interact with them a lot in their pen but I'm ALWAYS aware of what they are capable of. An animal twice my size, on four legs would have no problem knocking me off my feet. I give them proper respect and I don't let myself get cornered.
 

·
Wait................what?
Joined
·
2,257 Posts
I try and find ways to show the dangers to the kids without being really hurt. Try being the key word, but........

Anyway, with the chickens, I have had fair success with taking the kids in the pen barefoot after withholding food from the birds for a day. The birds have a tendency to pick at the toes and feet hoping they are good to eat (which they are in chickenland). This hurts a bit and I try to get the point across that they can do this to your face as well.

I try to set up situations like that with all the animals, but it's hard and not always possible. If they are a little bit older, try and show them what the animals do to each other and get it across that they will do it the kids just as easy. Again, chickens, but I used the fact that they will peck another chicken to death and then eat it. The goats will thump on each other, etc.

I emphasize that our animals are dangerous BUT can be handled if done appropriately and carefully. I try not emphasize the 'cute and fuzzy' aspect.

I say all this, but just to let you know, my youngest (3) is totally and completely fearless around animals, no matter what and even with close supervision has given me more gray hairs than all the others combined!

As for eating them, my kids grow up with it. They are 'helping' butcher from the time they can walk. We also dispose of any and every animal that becomes aggressive. And, with the exceptions of the dogs and one goat, every animal here has to earn it's keep, or go down the road. They grow up with that and, for them, it's just how it is. Even the tenderhearted ones who don't like it are able to handle it pretty well because it's always been that way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,696 Posts
Oh, I have such a problem with my daughter and my old mare. I've tried to tell her that if the horse spooks she could trample her, or that if she steps on her foot it'll break it. And yet I still find her playing tag with the horse, or sitting under her belly while she is grazing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
89 Posts
Oh, I have such a problem with my daughter and my old mare. I've tried to tell her that if the horse spooks she could trample her, or that if she steps on her foot it'll break it. And yet I still find her playing tag with the horse, or sitting under her belly while she is grazing.
Put your foot down. If I told my daughter to do something and found her doing the opposite, she'd have my foot in her up her backside. There is no compromise when it comes to common sense and safety. If she doesn't like that, well then, there's always the alternative...listening
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
727 Posts
I've learned from years of horse handling/riding what a large animal is capable of - just by being afraid and not intended to cause harm. I never let kids near farm animals without me being in the front of them. Never. No matter how docile they seem - still never. Even last night, my gilts unintentional hit the back of my knees and down I went, buckets flying. That stuff just happens and I'm "on guard" and it still happens.
 

·
Chasing a Dream
Joined
·
123 Posts
It is very hard to teach kids about animal behavior, I liked the idea someone said about hens pecking bare feet. Once you feel how hard they can peck, don't think you would go for another ? Roasters are the ones to pay attention to !! I remember well in collecting eggs:grit: I figured that out real fast wait till they get off nest !
My son 5 at the time liked to go and watch Grandpa collect the eggs . My son was behind him as he was gathering . Out of the blue the roaster came in the Coop , before my father got a chance to get to my son out of the way. The Mean ---- Roaster jumped up and spurred my son about an inch from his eye. He needed 6 stitches was very deep.
It was not funny at the time of course , but now that my son is a man it was strange to explain when the Dr's would see on his medical records attacked by roaster ? If you feed your pigs bones have the kids watch , tell them that's what could happen to fingers too .:huh: Good Luck - Hope everyone stays safe ...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
255 Posts
Just today I was working outside the paddock where my boar and sow are being kept. I was preparing a spot for a new waterer and had my knee up against the no climb fence which also has rails below it, and is extremely sturdy. Like all pigs, the boar was curious and came over. He's also excited because the sow just came into heat. Anyway, as I worked he watched, and son of a bleep, if he didn't bite my leg through the fence. No harm done, but yet another wake up call!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
952 Posts
I'm a suburban gal now running a farm. Yup, its learned.

My ex was a farm boy and was constantly telling me how the pigs, including his pig, were vicious beasts and were going to eat me. He had the sweetest gilt who rolled over for rubs and we got to be "friends," though he still told me she was going to eat me. Then one day the brother picked up for feeders. Nastyest beasts ever. Put your anything in the pen and the would bite-hard! I had to go in the pen once and those little buggers rushed me, but my friend pig stood by me and picked them up and tossed them when they got near. Funny to see them run at me, and big pig scoop them up and toss them with glee. she hated them, and it gave her an "excuse" to throw them around. She broke out a few times and mangled huge steel gates. She broke out for reasons in her mind. So I learned: pigs can be nasty, pigs can be gentle, pigs can be unpredictable, pigs are strong, pigs will cause problems when their needs arn't met.

I find "meeting their needs" is key to having well behaved animals. if they have nothing to complain about then everything there isn't as much a reason to cause a problem. Also, not setting them up for failure. Putting temptation away. feed should be inaccessable. breeders out of sight, out of mind from each other. when an animal figures out a hole in a fence, fix it right away before it becomes a habit.

I have everyone comment on how different my animals are. well, meet their needs, keep them away from temptation and stay dominant and you've got alot of behavior problems solved.

It takes a few viewings of fights, or see a little destruction on an animals part to really get an idea how dangerous they can be. I have a ram who enjoys knocking over fence posts. 150 lb guy can remove a 8 foot post dug 3 feet into the ground and CEMENTED in. Respect, and I ain't turning my back on that fella. I fed my pigs the bones of a cooked chicken. The rib cage was still intact. I figured he'd chew it. Nope. ate the whole thing in one GULP. I thought to myself, "my word, that could be my hand!"

A few times I've caught myself being fearful around animals. Its never a good idea: they know and they take advantage. Instead, confidence and and predicting what CAN happen and setting them up so the worst doesn't happen. had a horse push me around and once tried to pin me to a wall until I stood up to her horsey style: invaded her personal space and leaned on her until she gave in, then she respected me. Before I gave her a wide birth because "horses are dangerous, and need respect." Dangerous, yet, but don't give them an inch or they will take it. You must ALWAYS express confidence and leadership to your animals or else they will run you around. Of course being a leader means keeping everyone in their place is they misbehave. Ex tried to make me fear pigs. Fear is not what you want to instill, because then you can't think clearly because you are afraid. Be alert, yes, keep an eye on an exit, yes, don't be fearful, though.

Always learn, always try to understand and improve the situation. Always get rid of problem stock.

Its not mean to raise an animal up and kill it. Its an agreement: I will care for you until you are grown, and when its time you will care for me by being my food. I always think to myself: they'd do the same thing if they could! I eat my pigs before they eat me. Same with sheep. They'd eat me if they could. Had one try last night :/

Sorry for this being so long, but, yah, subrbanite has learned all this in two years. Or maybe it IS genetic and thats why I've got a knack for it ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
903 Posts
Animals need to know who's in charge. I don't mean that in a mean way but they can smell fear. We have one cow that can be alittle temperamental she knows my wife is scared of her and almost always does something to intimidate my wife. Me and her hand a little test of wills earlier this year and she's calm as can be around me now.

So far my kids listen to me and know where they are allowed and not allowed. As they get older we might have problems but they watch and learn from us. If we respect the animals thy will learn to also n
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,184 Posts
I agree it is learned for the most part. I also think there are personality types that do better with animals (and people) in most situations. I absolutely believe there are natural born leaders and also natural born followers. A follower can learn to become a leader, but they will have to work at it. You have to be a leader around animals. teaching children to become that leader can be difficult based on their individual personality. My oldest has a difficult time taking charge or a situation, my youngest is much better at it. Both have been taught the same way, just different personalities. My kids do feed the pigs and chickens and help with the mules and everything around the farm. I do not put them in dangerous situations, but I do give them responsibilities and expect them to get the job done. Is there a possibility of getting hurt? Absolutely, every time you are around an animal there is that possibility. I have put myself in dangerous situations to do what I think needed done for the best welfare of my animals. Some may say they would not risk their life for their animals. I say I have a responsibility to care for those put in my care and sometimes it will lead to dangerous situations. That is where our intelligence and making split second decisions can mean the difference between a hurt, injured or dead animal or a live one. Nothing will bring life and death into perspective like farming and raising animals. Life and death becomes an almost daily experience, really makes you appreciate the simple things a lot more.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top