Friday and the Weekend, Busy Days

by melissa on January 19, 2015

Friday was a busy day. We all were eagerly anticipating the birth of Peggy Sue’s piglets, it was the last day of orientation for the apprentices, chickens were going to slaughtered, and we were hoping for some snow so the sleigh rides could run.

Luckily, Peggy Sue’s piglets were born, a day later than expected, but twelve piglets made their way into the world in the early hours of Sunday morning. Unfortunately, one was stillborn and another was stepped on by the mother. However, ten piglets are healthy and happy up in the Outside In. It could have been the care and careful backscratching by Colene that eased Peggy Sue in her early stages of labor on Friday (see below).

Colene scratched Peggy Sue's back during the early part of her labor on Friday.

Colene scratched Peggy Sue’s back during the early part of her labor on Friday.

Before all the excitement with the piglets, Friday afternoon held a different kind of excitement, the kind that comes with the careful and considered slaughter of some of the older chickens on the farm. We often highlight the birth of animals at the farm, but we rarely mention that death occurs here as well. Some of the older chickens were carefully selected from the coop, aging ones that seemed unhealthy and several chickens that no longer lay eggs. Stephanie and Meghan worked with Colene and Will to slaughter several of the hens and roosters. The birds were quickly put down, stripped of their feathers, innards removed, and then vacuum-sealed and put in the freezer. These stew birds will help feed the apprentices this winter.

Meghan and Stephanie strip a chicken of its feathers before it is vacuum-sealed and put in the freezer.

Meghan and Stephanie strip a chicken of its feathers before it is vacuum-sealed and put in the freezer.

While it may seem sad that chickens were killed last week and two of the piglets did not survive, that is a part of the process of the farm. We always strive to make sure that the animals here at Merck live good lives, and that if it is their time to go, we try to make that easy for them as well.

We will go into this week knowing visitors will come up, excited for the new piglets and the fresh snow. Every week holds something new for us.

One Response to “Friday and the Weekend, Busy Days”

  1. Marion Carll says:

    Great blog. Birth and death are life.

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