2008 has definitely become the Year of the New Barnyard Animals, whether we intended it to be or not.
I am certain other farmstead types know of this: you buy a farm, you buy animals (or otherwise acquire them) at an alarming rate. Well, this is our fourth season here and we have fortunately only had a slow acquisition of animal life here. Some animals, though, have just showed up. Like Pigeon, our favorite thief. And now meet our new barn kitty, Little Edie.
She is a dead ringer for our own (indoor) black cat, Echo. Echo is also not at all thrilled she has arrived, but then again Echo has always had issues. She scares the heck out of our dog, too, but the chickens/ducks and chicks/poults/goslings seem unintetresting to her. And of course we think she is pregnant. Tom wants to let her have her kittens, but that is beyond irresponsible, not only for the kittens themselves but for the wild birds that come through our land. I am just fine with having one spayed barn cat, as long as she likes to catch mice and voles. Luckily, she’s a fine hunter, having caught four mice and one vole to our count, after a week of farm life.
The slow-growing meat chicks are just that: slow! I am happy about that. They seem to like to run around and scratch and even jump on a perch, so they are definitely not the same as our last batch of meat blobs. The poults are still quite adorable, and still quite tiny. They still live with the goslings (who are of course getting huge). The goslings groom them, and the poults love to sleep on their backs, so it’s a decent relationship. I swear the poults look like miniature ostriches. They still have their googly eyes and bordering on ridiculous skinny little legs. I adore them. The goslings are also beyond cute: they chirp so readily, and follow you around the lawn. They cannot get enough grass, it would seem. Once they get their feathers they will have their own patch of grass to eat but for now they’re in the tractor during the day. They eat down the whole patch of grass under it. Mowing AND fertilizing!
The ducklings are ducks now. Whew! That didn’t take long: how about a month? They are now bigger than our biggest chicken, Maggie, who’s a quite gigantic seven-pound Black Australorps. They are a cream color, and they are so soft. If you can catch them, that is.
That’s all for now; quite enough critters, if you ask me. Next year will be the year we actually breed poultry on the farm. Step by step, not all at once…let’s just say we like things to progress at a manageable pace around here.