Kids and livestock...

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by X2Farm, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. X2Farm

    X2Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2010
    Homer, GA
    specifically, deaths...

    We've dealt with a few deaths.. all within the last 6 weeks, of livestock (cows). The kids have known about them, I wasn't going to keep them in the dark about it, since they help me check cows, do doctoring, etc. All, so far, have died without "help".

    Tonight, I had to put down a heifer I've been workin with for almost 2 weeks. Since DH works a wierd evening/night shift, the kids were with me when I did it, I asked them if they wanted to, and they weren't gonna stay at the house alone, they wanted to see for themselves. They're 4 and 7. We've had talks about it before, since the first calf that died caused them visible grief. They don't seem to even be bothered about this heifer. I'd thought since I had to put her down instead of her suffering till she died herself, that'd cause them some kind of visible grief (mad at me for doing it, or somethin like that) . Nope, none, zilch. Not a tear, frown, nuttin [​IMG] They've helped me doctor her and care for her since we found her down.

    I guess I'm curious, as to others situations, when things like this happens. I'm a bit bothered by it. I've talked to DH and he's gonna talk with em tomorrow. I guess I'm just a bit bothered about them shrugging it off so easily.

    Scuse the rambling, its only been 2 hours since, and I'm still a bit tore up a bout it. First time doin that ever.
  2. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

    Jan 12, 2007
    Land of Lincoln
    [​IMG] You did the best you could. Not all animals can survive and thrive under our care.
  3. Camelot Farms

    Camelot Farms Chickenista

    Children at that age do not have a fully developed understanding of death. At this point they may not be able to connect death with forever.
    They may not understand that death is a 'thing'. It may have been a very abstract thought until now.
    You may find that in the next couple of days they may come up with questions as they begin to process it.
    Dont worry that they dont seem upset. Its very natural at this point in their development.

    You are doing a great job!
  4. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    When i was little I would have cried about any animal dying, but that's because I wasn't around livestock so every little hamster was a HUGE deal! Nowadays, I don't show much emotion when an animal dies because I've lost enough to realize it is just another part of life. It's hardened me to human deaths as well. I still feel the same emotions, but I don't show them nearly as readily as I used to.

    I really don't think it's a bad thing as long as you openly talk about it with your children. I hate when parents hide death from their children and then they REALLY have problems when the kids have to face death.
  5. X2Farm

    X2Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2010
    Homer, GA
    Thanks for the input yall...

    DD was already askin some questions last night (she's 4) and I talked again to DS and he blew me off. He's never really wanted much to do with me anyways, so, DH will have a talk with him later today. Maybe he can get somethin figured out.
  6. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2010
    I don't think you need to worry. Kids develop an understanding of death in very slow stages. They just have to be allowed to develop it naturally, at their own pace.

    They kind of adopt the behavior of the people around them. If you seem calm they will stay calm too. They will eventually learn that livestock are cherished and loved too, but that it is different than with people, we can help a cow to avoid suffering by putting her down if her pain can't be treated.

    There are books you can read to kids about it, but I wouldn't harp on it too much. Just give them time. If a little one sobs over the death of an animal, that doesn't mean they are 'more sensitive' or 'more caring'. They are each just learning about death in their own way in their own stages. Some the signs are more obvious and in others they more work it out more privately.

    I'm more worried about you saying the boy doesn't have anything to do with you. That worried me. Is that how you feel, that he isn't close to you? I mean, kids change over time to getting more friend oriented, that's just a part of growing up and they should do that, each one does at a different age, it more than that?
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2010
  7. noahsgeese

    noahsgeese Border Collie

    Nov 30, 2009
    You did everything that you could [​IMG] [​IMG]
  8. VioletBlueIvy

    VioletBlueIvy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 29, 2010
    It is totally normal for them to react that way, don't worry. Kids do not react to death like adults do, especially young ones. A lot of what we consider normal expressions of grief is actually learned social behavior. They may fully grasp the concept, they feel all the same emotions an adult does, they just haven't learned what to do with those feelings yet. Modeling a healthy way of dealing with it, whatever way you feel is appropriate, and letting them know it is ok to talk about it, be curious about it and be able to ask questions about it is the best way to handle it. It sounds like you are doing so. Don't push them to talk about it, or make a big deal about their reaction (or lack thereof) though. That's what will cause problems.
    There is nothing wrong with letting them be a part of the process, it is part of life. I think it is great parenting that you are being sensitive to their reactions and and trying to help them learn this less than cheery life lesson, good job! [​IMG]
  9. aggieterpkatie

    aggieterpkatie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2009
    I totally understand how you feel. I don't want our kids to be really upset when an animal dies (well, livestock at least) because I don't want them to be upset when we kill and process our animals for meat. The few times I've found dead animals (like chickens or turkeys) I'm nonchalant about it and say something like, "that's a shame it died" but I don't get too upset because I don't want them to get too upset. And I'd agree with the poster above who said kids don't really "get" death yet. I know ours don't really "get it."
  10. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

    Jun 8, 2008
    NE Michigan
    Do not try to hide death from your children. A friend of mine does that every time an animal dies, she just tells her children that "so and so is at another home" and goes to great lengths to cover up the death. DH and I have explained death to our daughter as simply as we could and didn't hide the death of grandpa's dog, the neighbor's cat, the barn cat or our chickens. We had a chicken taken by either an opossum or owl and it was pretty gruesome so DD didn't see that dead chicken, but she has seen other dead animals and understands that it happens.

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