May 9, 2012 - Baker Heritage Farms - Howe, Oklahoma
Nine innocent young turkeys lives cut short in a massacre by a neighbors uncontrolled blue heeler.
We have had our first test of resilient farming. Early Monday morning a neighbors blue heeler entered the turkey run and slaughtered all nine baby turkeys, before they even had one full day of freedom. While our first reaction was to blame our inconsiderate neighbor, who lacks any respect for the property or peace of others, we realized that we can only blame ourselves.
First, we gave our neighbors way to much credit in thinking that they were considerate, compassionate people, and failed to remember that many of them think only of themselves and have little (or no) respect or consideration for the property and well-being of others. Second, we failed to consider that a number of those that live in rural areas like ours feel that they can own animals, but don't have to properly care for them or control them in any way. And, third, we are mistaken that, by living in America, we would not have to take unreasonable and costly measures to protect what is ours from others.
Unfortunately, it was nine young, defenseless, and adorable creatures, that had to pay the ultimate price for our forgetting that, in America, anyone is free to do anything, even if it harms others.
That being said, yes, we are all devastated. This has been both an emotional and financial blow to our hopes for the farm, but it definitely is not a death blow. It is a temporary setback, but we will continue to strive to be resilient farmers and pass on our successes and failures to others so that they may succeed in their farming ventures, learning from our mishaps and mistakes.
April 16, 2012 - May 7, 2012
"And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it"
This incident will set our Turkey operations back one year, as the Turkeys were all committed for the holidays and there is no longer enough time to raise another batch for this year. However, we will be working on improving this particular operation in preparation for next years brood.
The short lives of our turkeys will not be in vain. We have learned some valuable lessons (and will continue to learn) from this, and will be stronger as a result.
Some of the lessons we have learned include:
- Don't get in a hurry. Take your time and do things right the first time.
- Along with lesson one, plan, review and test the plans, revise the plans, and repeat at least three times. We knew that we had a coyote problem in this area (several packs), we also knew from experience that they would not approach our property due to the smell of NaKiTa, our resident wolf; however, we did not think of the domestic dogs (no animal control in our area).
- Do Not attempt to cut costs. If we are going to raise animals, it is evident that we will have to think of our inconsiderate neighbors and go to any extra expense necessary to protect them from domestic animals (believe it or not, it is easier to protect farm animals from wild animals then domestic animals). Even though a number of the animals we are planning on raising are destined for the table, we feel that our highest priority should be to protect them and provide them with a safe and healthy life while they are with us.
- And most importantly, we need to remember Sod's Law, now named after Capt. Edward A. Murphy - If anything can go wrong, IT WILL.
In memory of nine sweet little turkeys,
"But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you."
The Baker Family