Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Day of Animal Chores

First it is necessary to get oneself out of bed. Go to the fridge and get some milk out to warm up a bottle for Rocky. Next put on some barn shoes or boots. Meanwhile one of the young roosters is trying in a not very manly voice to crow a morning greeting to the new day. If it is anywhere around 7 am the girls (goats) will be calling to be milked. Snowy will be at the door jumping in frenzied excitement. You can try to pet her, but most likely will not get much more than a quick pat as she wiggly's uncontrollably.

Then you trudge to the barn with the pup racing about in wild abandon. The cats will be running quickly as not to get close to Snowy and escape behind the door of the hay room and call for their breakfast. The other animals hearing your approach will be calling out for their breakfast too. It is quite a symphony.

First Rocky will get his bottle. Rocky is always so happy to see you and wags his little tail with delight. After he finishes his bottle it is time to get the girls for milking. First Caroline, then Tam. Each gets a scoop of feed while on the stand being milked. After being milked the girls are let back into their pen. The milk is strained and brought in to cool down in the fridge right away. Back out in the barn I grab a bucket of chicken feed and fill the chickens trough. Then the pigs get their bucket of feed. The horses are waiting impatiently while I fill the manager and the hay net. Ella will be calling from her stall that she and Rocky are sharing. I will give her a small amount of alfalfa pellets. Ella and Rocky get their little hay supply restocked. We are separating Ella temporarily because we do not want her accidentally getting bred by Oreo who is with the big girls. Once Oreo has accomplished his fathering, he will be placed in a pen with Rocky. Next Oreo is led to the hall of the barn to eat his bucket of feed. I really try not to touch him if I don't have to, since he is so stinky. Lastly, Edel is let out to the milk stand and given her feed.

While animals are finishing their feed it is time to start checking water. Once the goats finish their feed they are let back in their pen. Water wise, usually the hose is turned on and fills a bucket. That bucket is brought to the chickens to rinse and refill their water pan. Meanwhile the hose is still on filling the pigs bucket. The bucket that was carried to the chickens is filled again then used to rinse and refill the guinea keats water pan, at this time the keats get some feed. One more filling of the traveling bucket and it is used to top off Ella and Rocky's bucket and the cats water dish. Then the horse and goats water trough is checked. Usually in the morning it is pretty full because the evening before it is filled to the top. If not the hose is dragged from the pigs pen to the horse and goat yard to refill the trough.

That all done. After checking off mentally the chores and walking through the barn and looking to make sure animals have their breakfast and water. It is time to trek back to the house where there is sure to be some scene of chaos greeting you as you walk in the door. Oh, don't forget to grab the kitty dish to run to the garage and fill with food. While getting kitty food from the garage, you also must fill Snowy's dog bowls of food and water. Sneaking another look in the house and assessing how bad is the little tornado man in his destruction. You will tell the two youngest that you will be right back to make breakfast. Quickly running to the barn the cats have their breakfast placed safely in the hay room behind a door that will keep Snowy at bay.

Now it just a matter of feeding the little wild bunch of animals that live in the house:') Seriously, I know some people get upset when you compare animals and people, but they really do have a lot of the same needs.

Afternoon: after feeding the hoard in the house lunch the youngest is put in his crib for a nap and the older two boys are set down with books. Warm up a bottle of milk for Rocky. Before heading to the barn stop at the garage and grab a couple of bags of bread for the pigs. Once in the barn check everyone's water then give Rocky his bottle. Fill all the the water containers. Feed the pigs their bread and have a little petting time with animals who are seeking attention.

Night time is pretty much a repeat of the morning. There are definitely things that change and spice up the routine. Like, Oreo jumping the fence snapping the electric wire and landing in the pigs pen trying to get to Ella who is out in the yard playing with kiddos. Yes, Oreo is definitely trying to make sure he covers all the girls. But as I have sternly told him, Ella is not his. I don't think he really is listening to me.

Periodically the pens need to be cleaned and new bedding put down. The water containers are cleaned every two weeks with vinegar and water. Of course there is also the time spent playing fetch with Snowy. Petting and cuddling cats. Working with horses and handling them. Letting Chickens out in late afternoon to have free range of the pasture and then putting them in at night. Giving the pigs showers on hot days. Petting and brushing the goats who love attention and when needed trimming hooves.

We just got a bunch of broiler chicks that we are raising organically. So now I have a brooder set up on the screen porch. We monitor the temp and keep them dry, fed, and watered.  

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