Saturday, November 2, 2013

Little Critters Great and Small

When we moved into our new house, there were standing two grazing sheep on the meadow behind our garden. There was also a little shed for them close to our fence.
For us this was already country life.
One year later our neighbors sold the sheep. To fill the void and to restrain the weeds so that the meadow would not drive wild, they bought two goats.

It was a nanny with her kid. The mother's name was Wanda and the little one got the name Irene. It was a lively little female, a real rascal. It jumped and ran lively around. It was endearing to see how the mom took care for her little one.  
The first time Pipke saw them, she really wasn't at ease. She looked at them astonished. Their bleating frightened her even a little. But after some time she got used to their noisy bleating and she was no longer afraid of them.

A few months later the neighbors bought also a few gees, all kind of chickens, and ducks.
It once started with two goats and now it had become a real menagerie.
Actually now the shed became too small for so many critters.

A view of the first old shed on the left in the background.

Somehow, now there was no more place enough to house and shelter them all.

Near the old shed in 1996.

My little granddaughter and I feeding and pampering the critters

Our neighbors knew that my hubby's hobby was carpentry and therefor they asked him to build a new and larger shed for them near the woodland.
And so he did. 
For them nothing was asked too much.

The *proud carpenter accompanied by Pipke 
at the new shed still under construction. 
Although - also I worked on the shed! I assisted *him with the laying of the roof tiles and to carry too heavy load. 

He always could count on me when he needed help, he even didn't need to ask for help.

A view from in our garden with in the background the new build shed.

Some time afterwards the menagerie was expanded with a billy goat and two horses.
It became now a real animal paradise! 
We really lost count on them.

When my hubby went to Pipke's pen in the morning, all the little critters were already present.
They could hear Pipke quacking, and to them that was the sign that there would be someone to feed them.
It was crowded and very rowdy then: screaming gees – quacking ducks – bleating goats, and neighing horses! The real sounds of the country side.

The very rutting billy goat has not been idle, he had done his thing with much devotion.

The result of his devotion was that: after only a few years there were already fourteen goats in total. The last year there was a season that there were even five newborn billy goats among them. It was so beautiful to see the newborns having their first romp in the meadow.
Unfortunately for the little critters: billy goats weren't at all welcome.
Now there were too many of them.
Already before, I had said to the neighbors: “but why don't you let castrate the father billy goat, there are already so many goats, it will be almost impossible for you to take care for so many”!
But - they wouldn't listen - and of course - it were their goats - not mine.
I had nothing to say on this.
Not long thereafter they decided to slaughter all the newborn billy goats.
(What happened with their father that I don't remember so well. If I'm not mistaken they sold him to a farmer who bred goats.)

They had asked someone who knows “something” about slaughtering animals to do the job for them.
The neighbors would help them to catch the animals.

I will never forget the afternoon that the slaughtering took place because it was such an horrible scene.
From a distance I saw the neighbors chasing after the animals to try to catch one, while the mothers started to panic and tried to defend their young. They even tried to attack the man while he was grabbing their little ones.
One by one the little ones were taken to the shed where the slaughter took place. Even from such a far away distance their scream sounded really horrible.
To hear and to behold all that cruelty was heartbreaking
My heart was bleeding for the critters.
I couldn't watch it no longer - I couldn't stand the screaming of the desperate mothers and their newborns any longer – so I went inside the house with tears in my eyes.

I felt so helpless and so angry - I wished that I could have done something to prevent this massacre.
I felt pity for these young billy goats.
I had seen them as tiny babies, so full of life and playful.
It was such a waste of young life. They wouldn't reach the age of one.
Oh, If it had been mine then …... but ..... they weren't mine.

A few years later another slaughter took place but, at the day that that happened, I didn't want to stay home.
I did not want to witness the suffering of animals one more time again.
At the end of that day there were no more goats alive.
An era had been closed.

From then on my friendly bond with the neighbors had received a severe blow.
I totally didn't agree with the way they treated their animals.
I no longer saw them as real friends. I just tolerated them. 
I never could understand that they could behave so cold, cruel and insensitive towards animals.

Now it was not nowhere near as lively as before in the meadow.
Luckily all the other little critters and the horses were still there.
They had more luck than the goats: the poor critters!

I want to close this chapter with this image -
 an image which I will cherish for ever!
It was such a happy time then.

September 16, 1997
Good friends 
Happy days!
I wished that I could turn back the clock!

Next time we will go further with: Being Separated . (January 1998)  
Bye, bye! 

Hope to see you again


  1. oh what an awful memory to have...i would have been horrified as well.

    1. It's already so many years ago since this happened and thinking back of it still makes me furious. Thanks for your comment and dropping by Tabitha!

  2. Oh, dear! Yes, that is truly horrifying! I do think that if people eat the meat and other products of animals (and fish) then they should be very aware that this is what it means. As I have not eaten any animal products (meat, fish, dairy) for many years now, I do not know for sure what is "out there", but I think that it is often considered a "delicacy" to eat baby animals. -sigh-

  3. I admire your dedicated attitude towards animals Terry. I have tried several years to eat vegetarian, but I have given it up, in particular because my husband couldn't miss meat.
    Now I replace as much as I can animal products with
    dairy products or vegetarian meat (meat substitutes).
    Of one thing you can be sure: I will never eat baby
    Every little bit counts to prevent animal suffering.
    Thanks for your comment!