What a month is has been on the farm. From Fool’s Spring at the start, turning to the wettest, stormiest weather we have had in ages.
Thankfully, I feel the page has at last turned from winter to the shiny new page of spring and we have all breathed a little sigh of relief.
As usual, spring gives me the push I need to re-evaluate our animal inventory and this month, numbers have soared.
Despite what you might be thinking, we haven’t even started lambing properly so all of the animals I have acquired are things other than sheep. I can’t write believe it myself.
Last month we bought three little white ducks from the animal auction. We only have one of these ducks left (more on that later). Our bin man (of all people) mentioned he was re-homing his ducks so of course we said yes and I packed the children in the car to travel to a different part of town to pick up seven huge ducks. They had no water for swimming and were in a filthy condition (windows were opened in the car on the way home).
The three, original ducks had made their way to our pond so I decided to do the right thing and take the new ones straight there.
I am so glad I did. I don’t profess to know what a happy duck looks like but this lot were really living their best life as the slipped, uncertainly into the pond and then quacked like they have never quaked before and had a splash around and wing stretch to their heart’s content.
The farmer made me a duck house to float on the pond and I admit that in terms of foxes, the ducks are much safer on the pond.
The demise of two of the three auction ducks came as a bit of a shock. They were carried away by a hawk type bird. I couldn’t believe it. The pond has an abundance of wild ducks to choose from but the bird of prey must have thought my little ones were either the tastiest or the easiest catch. The one solitary white duck is yet to infiltrate the flock of ducks from the bin man so I a, not sure what will become of him but where as we had a duck headcount of 10, it is now down to eight and there is not much I can do about attacks from above.
Next up, I saw three young hens for sale near me and off I went to pick them up. The problem there arose when I entered the lady’s house and she had a fish tank full of chicks on the floor of her hallway.
“Do you sell chicks?” I asked. Obviously, she said yes but, having only withdrawn enough for the hens from the cash machine, it was a purse investigator to see how many chicks I could buy.
Added up, I walked away with three hens and five chicks. It could have been worse and I think even the farmer inwardly agreed on that and helped me to find my heat brooder for the chicks. When I told my animal-mad four year old that I had chicks (the kids had stayed with my parents), he there his arms around my neck with joy and I would go as far as saying that he loves the chicks and chickens more than anything else (at the moment).
My poultry escapades are over now until the chicks vacate the brooder as I don’t have enough room for more until they got to the coop. As my incubator is broken, the buying of chicks is the cheapest (and most enjoyable) way of filling my coop again.
The rams were rounded up (and rode) before being wormed and sent to another part of the farm for fresh pasture.
The main event happened next. The pregnant ewes were brought up to the farm yard. At the time of movement, the weather was atrocious and the fields were wet and waterlogged so we put them inside. As time goes on, we are thinking of putting them outside again as it is the cleanest way to do it.
We have had a couple of early aborted lambs which I will probably write a separate blog post but we are just waiting now for lambing to start in earnest.
If you follow me on social media, you ill be aware that I have BIG NEWS. Don’t worry, there are no more mini farmers on the way.
We have alpacas. Four to be precise. I have been asking the farmer for some for ages and, I think in his anxious anticipation for lambing to start (see number two of the Seven Stages of Lambing), he decided to say yes.
They are not as tame as I would have hoped but I am spending time with them every day and the children love them. They are the most curious animals. Huge, soulful eyes, legs that don’t look big enough for their body and the softest fleece I have even felt.
I think this has been the best month for farm animal acquisition and I am sure it will never be beaten but we have got lambing to look forward to (hopefully) and I feel like enough time has passed since Minty left us and the children are older so I am on the look out for another pet lamb (or two).
Happy Spring everyone.