Homesteading is not for the faint of heart. There are days when predators have eaten half your flock, coyotes got your goats or a feeder pig ate one of the chickens. Then there are those times when we come out to feed or water and one of our animals is dead...and we don’t know why. As homesteaders, we raise most our animals for sustenance. That said when we come out an find a rabbit or a chicken simply died we may wonder if its still safe to eat. Or maybe you simply want to know how to avoid this death in the future.
Ive seen the question in many groups for homesteading, “Found my blank dead in its pen, no predator no obvious reasons, can we still eat it?” I’ll come back to the “can we still eat it?” portion later.
When you choose this lifestyle to raise your own sustenance you gain some knowledge of what a healthy liver or lungs looks like from shear numbers of how many you have processed. You may become familiar with what certain organs are SUPPOSED to look like. For those that are new to homesteading, you may not be aware what a healthy liver looks like versus a sick liver. For this reason I have decided to write this today and to begin compiling a database of what healthy organs look like for each animal on a farm versus what the organs would look like if the goat had CL for instance or if the rabbit had RHDV versus Coccidia. Not all health issues on a farm show themselves until its too late but they’re always present when you process the animal. For that reason I say even when you think you know why it died, always do an autopsy. Dont be squeamish to take pictures, they make great reference down the road!