Morbid subject - body disposal : LUSENET : Dairygoats : One Thread

Okay, this is going to be a morbid subject, so if it's going to bother you just hit that back browser button now. But I do believe that it's something we will all have to deal with at one time.

I had posted this on one of the yahoo talk lists a while ago, but still curious as to what you do on your farm with a dead animal. In the past we have had goat deaths during the summer when we were able to dig a pit and bury. No problems. But, our kidding season starts in March when the ground is still frozen. If we were to lose a baby goat or heaven forbid, momma, I don't know what we'd do with the bodies. I suppose the babies could go right into the trash, even though we're not supposed to take that to our landfill. And I do recall a website about composting bodies, but I'm not sure about the adults.

There is a dairy farm within a mile from us that raises replacement heifers. Maybe I'll contact them and get the name of the rendering company that they deal with. What do you do?

-- Charleen in WNY (, January 17, 2002


We have a large animal vet nearby, and he will dispose of animals for next to nothing. We have also just dragged animals WAY back in the woods and let nature take it's course. No, this has never attracted predators to our live animals. Animals die in the woods all the time, and during deer season many deer are field dressed in the woods. No difference in my opinion. And the goat, pet or not, obviously doesn't care anymore. Babies we put in a garbage bag and put out with the trash, freezing them if need be so they don't get stinky before trash day.

-- Paula (, January 17, 2002.

Thank the Lord I have never had that...yet. I had to put one doe down, but the vet buried her at his place.

Here it is more likely to be difficult to dig in the summer as we have clay soil that hardens to concrete in ttimes of little rainfall. What we do may work for those with frozen ground, too. Pour water on it and dig up what softens, then pour more. Or maybe you would be better off with burning? It would thaw the ground and decrease the carcass. Dunno....ugh.

-- Doreen (, January 17, 2002.

Chickens go into the burn barrel , goats or calfs go to the woods.

-- Patty {NY State} (, January 17, 2002.

BTW, it's not a morbid subject, just a fact of life when you have animals. You'll get used to it.

-- Paula (, January 17, 2002.


No, it's not a morbid subject to me, but there are others who don't wish to think about this until the time comes. Many people cringe at the thought of butchering, even cleaning fish. I'm not usually grossed out, I've got a pretty stong stomach and realize that, yes, it is a fact of life. EVERY life. I've no problem cutting the head off those stupid chickens and ducks. We raise our stock knowing from day 1 that they will end up in the freezer. I guess I've learned to 'detach'.

-- Charleen in WNY (, January 17, 2002.

We burn ours when possible or take them to the woods . We always have a couple large brush piles. The oldest goat we've lost was a yearly that died right after she kidded last year so all have been small animals There is a local pet cremetory that a friend of mine uses for large goats.

-- sherry (, January 17, 2002.

I throw them on the manure pile and heap more fresh manure on top of them, this effectively buries them above ground. When we move or dig up the pile months later, there are just bones. With a large animal, I don't know. We've never had a big one die during the winter, if it happens in the spring or later we bury it. I would think you could dig after getting past the first few inches of hacking through frozen ground. Or, move the manure pile aside and dig under it, the ground would be soft there.

-- Rebekah (, January 17, 2002.

I JUST asked a dairy farmer friend of mine last week what they do when a cow dies. He said they bury them in green sawdust and in about a month all you can find is larger bones. Same thing Rebekah said basically.

-- kathy (, January 17, 2002.

We butcher most, if it is a infant that I am putting down, I just put it down and throw it into the woods on the other side of the fence for the buzzards. I don't let older goats live past thier usefullness, os they are butchered. A death from illness is buried and limed (but I always worry that we are attracting the very coyotes and stray dogs my dogs are to kill), though I did originaly post on the other forum and we will be using it from now on, there is a chemical reaction between sugar and ferilizer that burns itself, so even a wet body that just died would burn through. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, January 18, 2002.

We have Livestock Guard Dogs. Part of their duties is keeping the area free of carrion that would attract predators. We have a Great Pyrneese who will lovingly lick a stillborn kid in hopes of bringing life back into it. But she knows when to give up, mourns the loss, and personally disposes of the body. She's right there with me at kidding, muzzle on the ground, butt in the air, tail wagging, hoping to see a new life. She guards the mother in labor from all and sundry. She trains any new puppy in the duties and responsibilities of her profession and treats new kids as if they were her own. They really do know the difference between life and death, and keeping their area clean.


-- Dennis Enyart (, March 15, 2002.

I just saw that sawdust information file I printed out a few yrs ago the other day when I cleaned my desk off. Clean is the key word, I can always find stuff in my mess. I recall it said to dig a small pit, fill with sawdust and it decomposes like mentioned in a few weeks. We will be using that method here at our new farm because it has a sawmill on it, well, had, and we have tons of the stuff. Before we moved here we used to dig a pit and bury them.

-- Bernice (, March 16, 2002.

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