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dealing with animals in a vegan/vegetarian system?

 
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We have guinea fowl that we got for pest patrol, because all the other methods that we tried did nothing to get rid of the crazy amount of ticks at our place. I went with the guineas because we do use eggs, so that wouldn't be a big problem and we have not let the raise any keets of their own. However, we lost some of our female guineas to pneumonia over the summer, so now we have too many males and they are just beating each other up. Strangely enough, the males are not beating up on each other, but rather seriously picking on the females. So I think we need to reduce our male population. However, I had never planned on having to cull anything from our flock because I was very careful in the beginning to make sure we didn't have to many males or to let the raise any excess young. I have to admit I am just a softy and really don't want to kill anything, especially something I raised. I was wondering what your suggestions would be for reducing the amount of males before they hurt the females. I really don't want to kill anything, but if I had to the meat would not go to waste as I know people that would eat it or at the very least our dogs would get it. Suggestions anyone?
 
gardener
Posts: 473
Location: St Paul, MN/Tularosa, NM and now a gapper at Wheaton Labs
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Would there be a way to separate some of the males?
 
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Can you find someone to trade some males for females? If you have to cull, perhaps a neighbor can do it for you.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1090
Location: Victoria BC
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I see all sorts of birds listed for free on the local craigslist and equiv. sites; they generally disappear pretty quickly. Whether they end up as pets, breeding stock, or dinner, becomes someone else's issue.

However... while I hope it isn't necessary in this case, I think it's *highly* advisable for someone on site to be willing and able to kill an animal humanely, if you keep animals of any sort.

I have spent time on a farm where the permanent residents were not mentally capable of doing this. Animals do get injured or become terminally ill, and if the only available strategy is to quarantine them and wait for them to die, they may suffer needlessly, for many days. I think this is irresponsible ownership, and really a betrayal of the implicit agreement between human and animal. I took care of putting down the animals in this situation when I was there, but I would have found it less stressful to have planned ahead for such a scenario, so that I could figure out how to kill them in as humane a way as possible, without time pressure. Just something to consider, hope it doesn't come off too harsh.
 
Bini Spisak
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I am not able to separate the males because they all free range together. Plus, as mean as they are to each other if they are not together they throw a fit!

I have looked in to getting more females some how but every place I have seen only sells as straight run, so I would still have to deal with extra males that I don't want unless I was incredibly lucky and got a straight run batch of all females. I also have had some very bad experiences with trading animals, even with people that I knew well and thought I could trust, so I really don't like the idea of giving/selling animals.

I have no problem taking an animal to be euthanized or calling a vet to do it if it is what is needed to prevent undue suffering to an animal, because I agree that if I am to take responsibility than that responsibility includes unfavorable situations in which ending a life is kinder than allowing an animal to suffer. However, if a vet euthanizes an animal then any meat that could be gained is now unusable. If I am going to end the life of a perfectly healthy animal I want it to not be wasted and I believe that using the meat from it would be the best way to do that (even if I am not the one that is going to eat it). BUT that is the part that I am not okay with. I just really don't think that I could kill them myself. I might have found someone that would be willing to come over and do it for me and help me learn how to butcher humanely, which is more and more looking like what is going to happen. I was just trying to give these jerks of birds a chance at living a full life if I could help it since they do still do a good job at eating all the bugs!

I was also trying to get a feel for various options because I was looking into getting dairy goats for the milk, since I still use dairy at our place and I really would like my food to be as homegrown as possible. But I know that if I have goats that are producing milk I am going to have baby goats that I will need to do something with and I know that I will get way more attached to a goat then I would a guinea.
 
Posts: 395
Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
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my next door neighbor is a biology professor and raises his own goats and chickens. when he ends the lives of his chickens he numbs their necks he said and is super careful to do it in the kindest way he can. maybe you can find someone like that. also for dairy he said that if i could help milk his goats he would give me half the milk and probably would even teach me to make cheese. that is not something i really feel like i want to do but it sounds like you would do well with a neighbor like mine. i hope if that is what would work best for you that you can find someone like that.
 
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