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Posted: 9/3/2004 11:36:47 PM EDT
My father-in-law bought my daughter two turkeys to take care of, and she loves them. He told her they would one day be a meal, and went ahead and got them. I was glad she had the experience of taking care of them, but wasn't sure about her dealing with death. He spoke to her tonight and said that one of her turkeys was going to be killed on Sunday. I have to take her there this evening to say good-bye. She is only 7, so this is not really something I wanted her to be a part of yet, and she cried so hard she could barely breath when my father-in-law called. How do I comfort her?

ps - Don't ask why I "let" her have the turkeys. I had no say in the matter. They are kept at the in-laws house, and FIL does not listen to any of my concerns.
Link Posted: 9/3/2004 11:41:50 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/3/2004 11:46:18 PM EDT by sum-rifle]
First of all it is good for children to know where food comes from and that death is a part of life,
but you do not Have to take her there to say goodbye and you do not have to make her eat any of the turkey either. I am not for the sissyfacation of American children, but I will comfort my child if she is afraid or hurt. Do I want her to grow up tough and self sufficient? Yes, but she (your daughter) is only 7 years old for heavens sake, let her be a child.

Please don't force her to go there to say goodbye or cut the turkey's head off.

Edited to add, how do you comfort her?
You are her mother, put your arms around her and hold her. Tell her you love her and that everything will be alright. Let her know that you will protect her and care for her.
If she asks about the turkey answer her questions honestly like
"Well baby God put all the animals on this earth for our food and the reason we got the turkey was so someday we could eat it. I know you have grown attached to it and care about it but it is food.
(Don't make her eat it if she does not want to)
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 4:12:13 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/4/2004 4:14:23 AM EDT by MrsWildweasel]
Sumrifle said it best. My son has known from an early age how the food chain works. He also started hunting at an early age with Dad and Grandpa. I raised my own chickens and pigs and never made bones about them being killed for food. I live in the country and maybe because my son was raised around farming,hunting etc it never bothered him. I have gone to some county fairs and heard kids say that they didn't know that that was where milk came from. Which I think is sad. I know most city folks want to be oblivious as to where their food comes from and want it in neat little packages,but reality is it was raised on someones farm somewhere and was killed so it could be on their table. Personally I prefer to raise my own meat,it tastes better and I know what has gone into it. As my husband puts it it is the circle of life. Good luck, and I always stressed that what ever I raised was not a pet it was food and would be eaten.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 4:16:41 AM EDT
I saw a similar situation where someone had a cow their kids like taking care of.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 4:19:05 AM EDT
Once he see his granddaughter cry he might not be able to do it. We had a cow that my GFs sister took in trade for a car. The cow got a name and became a pet around the property. It was a little calf and grew into a nice fat cow. They finally had to take it to the butcher because of how much it ate! The got the meat back and no one in the family could eat it. Had to sell it back to the butcher.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 4:39:05 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/4/2004 4:41:39 AM EDT by BenDover]
You MAY be ruining her taste for turkey for the rest of her life.

I know a lot of people who won't eat chicken, etc... because of the same thing.

It's one thing to know where the food comes from. It's another thing when you become attached to it as a pet.

We kept a cow on Mom's farm for years because one of my cousins adopted it and loved it as a pet. It was actually a pretty funny and intelligent cow (as far as cows go anyway). It loved soda pop in a can, and would get all excited when it saw someone drinking one... stamping its feet and mooing. When you gave it the can, it would bite the can gently to bust it open, and tilt its head back to let the contents pour down its throat. Then it would run around the pasture in full gallop for about 10 minutes in sugar buzzed joy.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 4:44:43 AM EDT
She didn't grow up around animals all of her life in a farm setting, she has no idea how things work.
You should have never let her get attached to those turkeys.
You would be better off keeping them as "pets" and just buying a turkey from the store.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 10:00:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/4/2004 10:02:24 PM EDT by wifeofgunnut]
Thanks everyone for the replies. It is over and done with now, and she was just fine with it, and is looking forward to turkey dinner. The real problem was because I am so soft hearted, and was not raised in a hunting or farming family. This is all foreign territory to me. My father-in-law is very good to my daughter, but he didn't deal with things the way I would have. I tried to stress to her from day one that the turkey was a future meal, and didn't really want her to look at it as a pet. He called it "her" baby, and pet. She took to his idea much more willingly than my idea of future meal. She has always been a tough little stinker, and doesn't want to seem wimpy in front of her grandpa, so that is part of why I did not know how to comfort her. It is at times hard to tell how much of her toughness is a show for grandpa, and how much is just real. She enjoys hunting and ect. She has a lot of experience with this sort of thing, but on the other hand is still a little girl. I have never lied to her about where her food comes from. When she was very small she asked me what a bologna looked like out in the wild, and that is when I started explaining to her that meat comes from animals, and we eat animals. I did not force her to say goodbye as someone stated above. When I said I had to take her, it was because it was important to her. She did that and was happy that she did. She did not cut its head off either. Being a city girl who's mom cooked almost every meal in the microwave, this was a scary thing to go through with no idea of what to do. I think we got through it very well. She is even looking forward to helping her grandpa with raising future meals next spring. I did mention to him that this would all be a lot easier if he did not call them her pets when he gets them.
Link Posted: 9/4/2004 10:09:04 PM EDT
You are in troubling waters, my friend.

I knew a kid who was so distraught over his old man fileting a fish he caught that he hasn't eaten meat of any kind since he was 7.

He is now in college... and wont touch meat. And that was just some random trout!

- BG
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 9:36:37 AM EDT

Originally Posted By BUCC_Guy:
You are in troubling waters, my friend.

I knew a kid who was so distraught over his old man fileting a fish he caught that he hasn't eaten meat of any kind since he was 7.

He is now in college... and wont touch meat. And that was just some random trout!

- BG

Well you know an idiot.

This event has been life on the farm for thousands of year.

Make it a matter of fact event without all the drama and move on.
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 9:41:33 AM EDT
When I was a small child...bout 8, I bought a duck. I brought it home and it chilled in the back yard. My parents said I couldn't keep it because it would be lonely by itself...so I went and bought another one, lol.

We all chilled in the back yard for the summer. They eventually flew away and I never saw them again...

Then...last week senior year in HS, I went and got a duck from the local pond and made a leash for it. Of course, I took it to school and walked it around all day...it didn't seem to mind it, lol. Great story and great pics. One of the legends that will do down at that school for quite some time.
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