There has to be a Murphy’s Law to animal husbandry, though I do not know what it is called. I may not know its name, but I certainly know what it is.
Let me give you some recent examples.
By this law, one’s first and favorite goat (and best milker) will confound you. On returning her to her pen this snowy Friday evening–after a day spent away from the farm–you notice that yes, indeed, she is limping. She is limping because she’s somehow badly gashed her leg (and a quick survey in the gloaming shows a goatshed and yard quite pink with bloody snow) and she’s not telling you how she’s done it.
By this law, the call to your housecall-making vet will come up empty. By this law, your second call to another vet will land you with an early morning appointment…35 miles south of your own farm, at his office, because he does not make housecalls. By this law, you know your travels to and from said vet will be during the one and only blizzard of this winter season, and, by a second law called Lake Effect Snow, you will leave from and return to your sunshine-bathed house, where barely a flake has fallen.
Another example of this law: After tirelessly monitoring the state of your doeling’s estrus, she will fall into heat (the last heat of the season) on the same day your daughter goes to the hospital for a week. Therefore, you do not get the doeling bred and she remains the fat if cute hayburner that she was before.
Here’s another: Only when you have a surfeit of some one animal is the time when said group of animals remains unbothered by either disease or predation. So when people ask if I have problems with hawks or coyotes eating my free-ranging chickens, I say “no, unfortunately.”
And yet another: Despite the notches on her
belt collar, our fearless farmdog Penny finally met a raccoon who could indeed bite her back. (The Rodenator as she’s otherwise known has killed at least a dozen raccoons and even more opossums in her years as self-appointed farm protector. Mice and voles are uncountable. She’s quite valuable.) You realize it is thanks to her that you have so many chickens. She does her job admirably well.
If any of you were to follow me down this path of farm-animal ownership (as many are), my only word of wisdom is to expect that you will not be exempt from this law. One must simply accept it with a tired smile, and a backup plan.
Oh, and having on hand a full first-aid kit–as well as many vets’ phone numbers–won’t hurt you.
Pauline the coop door bouncer has the last word