I can't tell you what to feel or what to do - but - I can share this.
My chickens (and farm animals) are loved. Well loved.
Not like children, deeper in some ways and not in others of course, but they are truly and wholly loved.
I give them the best life I possibly can.
They eat and drink clean fresh water before I sit down to breakfast. Not even a thimble of coffee. They come first.
Times are tough and they don't eat? I don't eat.
Here's a pic of 'Lil'Man' recovering from an injury on a chair, inside, next to my computer...
All the animals have scheduled attention times too - it's just as important as their food, water and shelter, maybe more.
It's hard to say who benefits more from the loving attention they receive, I like to think it's mutual.
A dog attacks my 'pets with benefits' (meaning the ones I will eventually eat) the owners get one
warning and only one
Then the dog 'disappears'.
The neighbors get another dog? They get no warning at all.
And no, I don't tell anyone I just dispatch the dog cleanly and bury it under the chicken run.
If an animal is mortally wounded I send it off as painlessly as possible.
Is it hard? You bet.
I get the shakes (after) and cry.
For chickens, I just can't take the 'neck in hands' - it's too much for me. They'd feel fear, I'm sure, if my hands, normally so gently, grasps
them in a death grip.
I make the animal as comfortable as possible on the ground and get 'the stick' = An old broom handle.
I place the broom handle right over and behind the bird's head then quickly stand on both sides of the stick and at the same time give the birds feet
a huge upwards yank.
I hate this method too but, it's the best I can do. I know I can honestly say it's the best I can do.
An axe? IMO the loss of dignity after a hatchet death is harder on the animal, so it's the 'stick'. Plus, all the blood splatter and carnage left
behind? I don't want to take a chance on calling in predators.
If the animal is not suffering but the time comes for the animal to fulfill it's part of the bargain? It's life in exchange for all the love, care
and never wanting for anything? I'm the one that takes the life away.
No animal I've ever 'out down' has had cause to feel fear.
Me? Again, I hate it...
But, that's the price I pay.
And who does the gutting and taking the hide (or feathers) - Me. And I try not to waste anything.
I've even learned to eat the 'doodles' (topknot of the chicken), the feet and the head? Well, two out of three isn't bad - I still can't do the
head, but I tried.
My 'Lovey Hens' who've been part of the family, who've given me their eggs every day for years?
They get buried in the 'hen patch.'
My oldest pair just passed away at 9 years old each. I miss them still.
LOVING our animals means we do what's RIGHT. And that means NEVER abandoning an animal to suffering. Or letting someone else do the 'dirty
work'. It means protecting them at all costs.
You've learned that. The hard way.
Am I right?
For me I am.
For everyone else?
I can't answer that can I.
You have to answer it for yourself.
I hope you two find peace, you and your Mrs. deserve it.
Edit = bold and 2cd picture
[edit on 21-7-2010 by silo13]