Boss Hogg's nature was very gentle and mellow. He loved spooning with the ladies (sometimes we'd let a sow in heat stay in his pen for a few days). If he was in the right mood, he'd come to the gate when called for some photos or to meet guests. He was the oldest hog we had - our foundation stock.
It was our responsibility to make sure he had a good life did not suffer. We take that responsibility very seriously. Prolonging life vs. preventing death. We'd love to prevent death but not at the cost of any animal suffering.
Most days we usually do welfare checks - is everyone eating, everyone drinking water, everyone pooping? Everyone have shelter, a cool spot in summer, a warm spot in winter? Is everyone safe? Daily checking and monitoring is basic. We keep an eye on any animal that doesn't look "normal" or healthy for any reason - it could be that one of the equines stepped on a duck's foot - or there's a burr in a dog's paw that can be removed - or a water fountain that's clogged with dirt that needs to be cleaned out. There can be more serious issues, though. Hens become egg-bound and most often die without immediate help from us. Dairy goats can deplete their own body system of nutrition to the point of fever and death while nursing - we need to ensure that nutritional supplements are given immediately if any doe looks weak. Even if we identify the problem, sometimes the treatment may cause more suffering for the animal and no amount of animal welfare management - or vet care - can make the animal healthy.
The responsibilities are many - from daily welfare basics to life and death decisions. Our assumptions and judgements are challenged with each new issue. We do the best we can.
Boss Hogg is already missed but we know he is not suffering. His absence leaves room for Roscoe to grow and become the ladies' choice - and for the Grabishfarm Mulefoot herd to develop, grow and improve from Boss Hogg's generous contribution.