View Full Version : Farmers Can You Give Advice?

10-15-2006, 10:59 AM
My next door neighbor has an 11 year old boy. He comes over to visit a lot. his folks have 3 Boston terriers, one breeding pair and one of their sons, and I have cats, so he thinks cats are great!

The boy talks and I am not sure about what I am hearing.

His Dad and his uncle inherited some farm land in Massachusetts, a short drive away from us - about 12 miles. At one time, his grandpa owned pigs, and it was known as The Piggery. No pigs any longer. No one lives at the farm land. The uncle goes each morning, the Dad goes each evening. If one can't make it, sometimes they call the other one. Someone ALWAYS has to go to milk the cows, but other stuff often gets left to the next visit.

They have 4 milking cows, and equipment for milking. They have rabbits, hens, ducks, and they often buy calfs for beef. All of these are for food. I get the sense that these 2 men don't have a clue what they are doing!!!

Two years ago, they bought 11 calves. 9 died within 3 weeks. They were treating the youngsters with all sorts of medications, not sure how they got the stuff. They never had a vet come in. The poor things had difficulty breathing, eventually couldn't stand, and then died. Eventually, the men learned that they had put down wood shavings to save money. The calves were developing pneumonia and dying. They swept up all the wood shavings and put down hay, bought new calves, and that seemed to take care of that problem. They buried the dead ones on the property, somewhere.

Since then, they have bought many more calves. About half die, they haven't figured out why.

My little neighbor says sometimes the cows get big bloated stomachs. His uncle sticks a knife in the stomach and sometimes the cow gets better, but not very often. These cows get buried on the property.

In May 2006, they bought a horse. She is 9. This was for my little neighbor. He went to riding lessons for 6 weeks. Then they put him on the horse. She promptly bucked and reared, he screamed and fell off, and he has refused to get on her again. He does brush her and feed her. The Dad and the uncle ride her. When they got the horse, they fenced off a small area for her. She quickly turned in into mud and dirt and dust. They built a barn for her, she shares it with the cows. It is not heated. The floor is dirt. they do not have a blanket for her for winter. My little neighbor says that when he asked his riding instructor about blankets, she did not recommend them; the horse can commit suicide because flies get stuck under the blanket and bite the horse like crazy. So he said they do not plan to get a blanket. They had a vet come to give the horse a shot. The vet did not check the horse, just gave one shot and left. That is all they asked her to do, my little neighbor says.

Sometimes I express a little disappointment in some of this to the young boy. He says his parents tell him these are not pets, these are food animals. He is not permitted to take photos of any of the farm animals; he did sneak some shots of his horse to show her to me.

There are 2 dogs on the farm. Spike is about 14. She has no teeth left. She has a lump on her belly which she does not permit anyone to touch.

Ace was bought last March to replace Spike. Unfortunately, he started helping himself to meals of chicken and duck, so he has to remain on a chain. This has made him very mean, so my little neighbor doesn't go near him anymore. It takes both the Dad and the uncle to feed Ace. One of them distracts the dog while the other switches the empty food dish for the full one. My little neighbor doesn't know when either dog ever got shots. He says they don't have money for vets.

There are lots of cats around, but none belong to "this" farm. They belong to the man next door, who does not take care of them. Two of the cats have kittens who are blind all the time. The kittens never live too long once the mother weans them, someone eats them. Another female always has kittens with holes in their heads. Some of the toms have vicious fights, and then walk around with open wounds.

I have not seen ANY of this for myself; and I do not know for certain what the situation is. It does not sound right to me. Are there farm agents who are supposed to keep track of these things? I wouldn't think the local animal control officer would have much skill in dealing with this? Or maybe much of this is farm life and I am not familiar with it?

The little boy, his mom and dad spent quite a bit of time at the farm in the summer. Now that school has started, they are there less often.

I sure would appreciate some guidance, ideas, suggestions, as I don't know if I should do something.

10-15-2006, 12:41 PM
I wonder how muc of what you were told is true, and how exaggerated or distorted. Perhaps you could call the Animal Control officer in the town in question (what tow? I grew up not far from teh CT/RI/MA border) and have them investigate, but a lot of it is stuff gone by.

10-15-2006, 01:01 PM
Sounds to me that they are buying the sick calves from the auction barn. They are really cheap. Mom used to do it to try to save them she spent lots of bucks on the little guys .I would say she had about a 70 percent servival rate. Scours can take a calf in hours.
I hte to say this on this board but most farms are this way the owners don't want to be come attached so it's don't name them of get close. I was raised that they were there for me to play with but later they were to feed me and help the family to survive. I think it was a healthy way to be raised I did it for my kids too mostly rabbits and chickens. we didn't have a large place for cattle,my pfolks did so the kids were used to it.
I am some what concerned about the domestic dogs if left with no one there all day , duh no wonder thepoor thing followed his natrual instincts. most farm animals can be maintaned as they are doing but they never reach there true potental. I would have the HS check the place out.

10-15-2006, 02:18 PM
Hi Karen - It is in Seekonk. I know the 9 of 11 calves dying is true, because I extended sympathy to Justin's mom. She said she spent whole nights there holding the calf's head, one at a time, trying to will it to live. She cried until she couldn't cry anymore each time one died. And she confirmed it was because they tried to do things on the cheap with the wood.

Thanks Corinna, that is why I needed input from someone with a farming background. I realize I am citified enough to be very removed from how my food ends up on my table. (I try not to think about it.)

I'll wait to see if any more psots come through to give me some additional thoughts.

10-15-2006, 02:22 PM
I agree with Corinna, most 'farmers' will not put more money into an animal than what they can get out of it. It is not practical to them to seek medical attention for a farm dog, goat, chicken, etc. Usually farmers will seek medical attention for sick cows, if they get money out of them or if it will cost more to replace the cow.

Why don't they let the horse out with the cows? It sounds like the property is big enough, if they bury all their animals out there.

The dogs concern me. If the elderly one has no teeth, it probably can't eat much. And the 'mean' one...if the uncle goes in the morning, and the dad goes in the evening, and it takes both to feed them, how often does it really get fed?

If you are truely concerned, I would at least try to ride by the place. See for yourself, snap some pictures if the place is concerning. Then contact an animal control agent.

10-15-2006, 03:14 PM
All I can say is... poor calves :( I would suggest going to Google and finding some Cow Specialist or something like it and asking them. I would help but I don't know what to say.

10-15-2006, 04:29 PM
They probably do buy already sick calves. I'm concerned for the child though. There is a dangerous dog without vaccinations and there are feral cats running around with disease. I'd say something needs to be done about those animals at least because they comprimise the safety of the people, especially a child.