Thursday, July 10, 2014

Ethics of doing the right thing

One of the sad parts of doing hobby farming and raising animals is that keeping everything safe and healthy is a battle.
I introduced four baby chicks to the big pen about a week ago and a hawk got one, and yesterday I found a few remains of another one.
Yesterday afternoon I baited a humane trap and did a few safeguards in the pen, hoping to curb the loss
of more young chickens.
This morning before sunrise when I stepped down the feed them, I flipped back the tarp covering the humane trap and an o'possum snarled at me.
I'd almost convinced myself that I was going to play hardball with critters and smite any that I caught in the act, but I noticed something else wiggling in the cage. Upon closer inspection, the possum had three babies.
That's when reality set in, and I couldn't even harm a snarling possum family, even though they had slaughtered one of my baby chickens. I decided to
relocate them.
I knew a perfect place several miles from my house. It's a beautiful pond with no houses in sight. Today, with the cage in the back, I pulled to the side of the road and walked around to open the door and take the possums out. When I looked at the pond, a mother duck with about 10 babies swam toward the shore.
That's when I started thinking about the ethics of doing the right thing.
In my situation, what is the right thing? Should I let them eat their fill of my baby chickens? When I relocate the varmints, am I transfering my problem to someone (or something else)?  It's hard to say.
I ended up taking the possums to the a small river about 15 miles from our house. I'm not sure if they'll survive.
This much I know: even with simple endeavours like hobby farming, you still have to make hard choices.


  1. I think opossums are creepy and scary looking. Those teeth!! You do have a kind heart because I don't think I'd have a problem doing away with the whole family!!

  2. The possum will have to work harder for a living, just as if you had no chickens. You didn't change the balance of nature,you just moved it.

  3. I agree with Joanne. Nature is cruel from the human point of view, but in order for them to live, something has to die. I don't like it and I would have found a place to turn them loose also. Life is hard for everything.

  4. Choices..... some not very much fun. I have to wonder and wonder sometimes, before I make the 'wrong' one. (smile).

  5. Morning Rick, We always defend what we are in charge of as we are small homesteaders. We know we must make choices often as to what will have free reign. Even our own dogs will kill rabbits and what ever they can run down and catch.
    Living in the country requires touch choices, I defend my chickens...

  6. No chickens for me. I couldn't deal with them being killed.


  7. Sorry for the lost of yet another of your small chickens. Living on a Dairy Farm I know all too well the tough decisions we have to make on a continual basis.

    The possum will survive just fine in the wild.He may not get his choice meal but he'll do what he did before coming to your place. Great photos.


  8. I think you were very kind to save the mama possum and her babes. I could never have zapped them, either. Hope they adjust to their new surroundings. Good luck to your chicks. Hope a fox doesn't come next. That would be definitely problematic! Susan


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