Last year I wrote an animal inventory and I thought it would be fun to carry on the tradition.
I had thought not much had changed until I read last year’s post and it seems we have been very busy on the animal front while there has also been some deaths.
The three farm dogs mentioned last year are still here-Fred, Dougie and Archie with the new editions of Norfolk terrier sisters, Tutsy and Mabel who are so cute and very silly little dogs. Rosie is also still living the life of luxury in the farmhouse.
It’s been a funny year for the farm cats. Poor Mew died and a few others disappeared but Rocher, the faithful cat who lives in the barn nearest the house and would come in if it wasn’t for the love-hate relationship between her and Rosie the dog. She has been joined by a young ginger Tom who, at the moment is very wild and untamed but beautiful and hanging around for the food.
Bunny and guinea pig village is no more. After Clover’s escape she was seen a few times on the periphery of the yard and then disappeared while the two Netherland dwarfs escaped and were captured many, many times but they must have had parties with their cousins the wild rabbits because the white one got mixamatosis and died and the black one hasn’t been seen for about a month.
I do plan to keep my eye out for more rabbits though as they are lovely pets and I think G will love them.
When Boo’s school hatched eggs around Easter time, I put my hand up to rehome the chicks. I then rehired some ex-battery hens, bought some young pullets and hatched my own eggs (obviously not my eggs but in my own incubator!). We ended up with around 26 chickens but we gave some of the cockerels away and some strayed over the fence into our garden providing naughty Rosie the dog with amusement that resulted in their demise.
We have done well though. We still have around 16-18 chickens. They are so hard to count because they hardly ever stay still. I do hope to hatch some more eggs in 2017.
We got four new rams in late summer and they really are delightful animals. More like dogs than sheep, they loved coming over for strokes. They are actually still in with the ewes at the moment (we usually separate them after mating) but they were so happy with the girls that the resisted capture and are still at large with their harem.
The biggest news in terms of animal aquisition was the addition of our two gorgeous little goatlettes. We saw pygmy goats at the Cheshire Show and, when Hubster saw how small they were he gradually came round to letting us get some and what an absolute delight they have been. They are little characters but much less trouble than other goats we have had or seen. I am hoping that is because they are happy here with us. They walk on a lead rope, love getting groomed and let me dress them up in coats and Christmas outfits which has provided me with no end of amusement.
The saddest part of the last year has been the death of Minty. I always knew I loved that sheep but writing this three months after his death, it has surprised me how I forget quite regularly and expect to see him in the field and then feel sad when he isn’t there and I remember.
I will be hopefully having my own little hatchling around lambing time this year so I am not sure if I will have the time or the inclination to mother a pet lamb enough to get it as tame as Minty and, if I’m honest, I am not sure I want to. I think it is too soon and I might just let this year’s lambs go and think about a new pet sheep next year.
I wonder what 2017 will bring to the farm? What animals will cross our gates this year? You will have to stay tuned to find out.