The number one rule on my farm should be “DON’T CHOOSE FAVORITES”. As much as I would like to rate my chickens and goats and other animals, I have to be very, very careful in letting any thoughts of supremacy into my head. There’s apparently a little red devil running around my farm that can telepathically pick up on these thoughts. As soon as I look lovingly at a particular goat kid or imagine a plan for the future involving this animal or that animal, the devil sneaks over and takes them away from me. Usually my punishment for choosing favorites is obvious – the favorite of the day suddenly dies. Sometimes the punishment is slower acting – the favorite has a change in attitude or just doesn’t grow out the way I planned. The results are always the same. The favorite ceases to be my favorite anymore.
This has happened so many times, I can hardly count. The last two years have been particularly difficult. Last year I lost my “favorite” doe kid to a mixture of coccidiosis and enterotoxemia. One day she was fine, the next she was dead. Then I had my Nubian/Alpine doeling not grow out the way I had planned so she ceased to be my favorite anymore. After that the doeling I had saved from last year for breeding this year stopped growing and became somewhat stunted. She wasn’t turning out like I wanted so she had to move down the line. This year I have already lost my favorite Boer doe to bloat and my Boer buckling, who I desperately want to use for mating, is very sick and runty. Now my Sultan hen (a favorite because she has both a top knot and feathered feet) has a bum knee.
Nothing bad ever happens to the not-favorites. If I have a goat or chicken that I particularly don’t like, it takes an effort to get rid of them. The cows I never liked lived and thrived like crazy. Those stupid pigs we raised once were as hardy as a can be. I have even TRIED to get rid of some of the not favorites and failed! They stick around forever and never get sick, never have an accident, and always turn out fine.
Maybe it’s some big cosmic plan for me to learn humbleness or maybe it is God smiting me for being proud of my animals. Or maybe it’s payback for being an opinionated blogger who goes on and on about her farm and farming ethics for page after page after page. Karma, smite, payback – call it what you will. All I can tell you for sure is that I am getting very tired of not being able to pick a favorite and stick with it.