Saturday, May 8, 2010

Life on the Farm


Today, as I was swearing about that necessity of dodging various piles of "fertilizer" in my front yard, I was considering banning all non-pet varieties from the yard. Then, I remembered that bug control is paramount. Unfortunately, bug control requires chickens in the yard. And yes, the chickens are the primary offenders in this instance. That said, though, the sheep were in the yard for 5 days before their "deposits" became so numerous that I got fed up and kicked them back out. Then today, I saw the still-pregnant ewe and thought about the consequences of my frustration. Since I am more unwilling to find another lamb after it is too late than I am to dodge the bombs in my yard, the sheep are once again in our yard. Her bag has been full for almost a week now, so she should deliver soon. Then I can put her and her baby in a small pen for a couple of days and kick everyone else out with a clear conscience. I really really hope the barn does become usable this year, and that the sheep fence really does get put up so the sheep can stay where they belong. Those two things together should give us a system that will help minimize the lamb loss.

On the chicken and cats front, the cats may have finally conceded that the nesting boxes may not be the best place to have their kittens. It sounds great in prinicple (warm and secure), but we've got two hens going broody, and they are very very grumpy about sharing with the cats. Most of the hens just lay in the front of the box and ignore the kittens. But those dang broody hens puff all up and make make all sorts of warning noises, and then they peck. Hard. I don't like it when they get me, and it can't be good for the kittens. Momma cat had gone so far as to get the back of one box open and get into the back room to try and find another way in to her kittens, 'cause the broody hen wouldn't let her get to her kittens. Unfortunately, she had chosen the old cooler for her den, and it was secure enough that she couldn't get in from the back side. I closed up the nest box she had gotten open, and gathered up the kittens to move them to the barn. Momma cat followed me over and laid down to nurse even before I got her kittens set down. I hoped she would stay this time. She was still there when I took her out some food. But, when I went back out about 30 minutes later to get the treat-mix to entice the sheep back into the yard, I heard a tiny little "mew." Sure enough, there she was, back in that nest box with two of her five kittens. And the broody hen was headed in as I was headed out. I figured they would have to work it out. Not too much later, I sent Sarah out to fill feeders, and she said Momma cat was on her way back to the barn with one of the two kittens. Sarah took the other one to the barn for her, and so far, she hasn't tried it again. I really do hope she's given it up. Those broody hens are mean.

Steve may have finally convinces the hens to stop laying in the wood shed. Sarah only found two eggs out there yesterday. Of course, there is no guarantee that they are laying in the coop. Just in case you're wondering, no, that photo has nothing to do with the post. It's just a face in the wood that Steve liked and snapped a photo of. Enjoy.