Although Darby has convinced Rosie that the goats are a great addition to our herd, Bella and the chickens are not buying. I can totally see the chicken’s viewpoint. We’ve only just this past week broken MayMay of her penchant for zooming in to pick off a feather or two!
Goats are wonderfully curious. It makes it a bit tricky to work on fixing things up. If you have them out they are certain to show up to see what you are doing. It has made it even trickier to create a goat-proof exit for the chickens – one that would let them move freely from their covered run to the paddocks and the woods. One that would NOT allow the goats to move in the opposite direction.
Above is my first attempt … The goats were in lickety split! (Goldie couldn’t use it because he couldn’t crouch down low enough.) Since then I’ve read about the need to make an ‘L’ shaped entrance. One that would allow the chickens to manoeuvre through but would not give the goats enough room for their spine to make the corner. I also needed to move their entrance to the gate side of their run. That is where they naturally move to get out.
This morning I went back to the drawing board … I had to keep changing my plan as first Goldie was not able to fit … and then the goats were … and then Goldie wasn’t … Haha! My ‘entrance box’ got whittled down … and whittled down … until all that was left was a piece of one side and the full length of another. I literally ended up with an ‘L’ of wood. And it worked! Phew! The hens pop in the doorway and then up onto the top of the ‘L’ and drop down into their run. Goldie steps up … mutters to himself … turns … (hopefully right) … mutters to himself … and then peers in at the hens …. mutters to himself … and finally manages to take that final step. The proof in the pudding was that Sophie was able to find her way back to the coop and her nesting box to lay her egg this afternoon. No need to find a backup nest in the hay bale. Yep – the KISS method worked best. KEEP IT SIMPLE SILLY!
Here is this morning’s evidence of no breeze and plenty of black flies!
All three jennies were hiding in the barns by the fans.
See the look in Darby’s eyes? That clearly says DON’T MAKE US MOVE OUT!
Once the wind came up everyone was keen to check out the day’s munchies in the woods. It looks like my next job is to find a way to fence in a few more tree trunks!
That’s not all MayMay’s doing. The donkeys had a go at it earlier this week. Poor tree! I have to keep reminding myself that there are still MANY tall, healthy oaks and maples and ironwoods around. There is lots of shade. It won’t be such a bad change to have the ground cover and lower branches and some of the trees gone. It makes for better breezes and less flies and mosquitoes.
It really is a lot of fun to move around with the tractor and have the goats running like the wind alongside. We’ve started to establish a routine. They can see me easily from the woods and the hillside. When I’m working at raking up the paddocks they pay little attention to me. But should I be finished up and driving to the back? They are alongside in high gear.
They know the next step in that routine is a meal of grain and pellets, or maybe even peanuts! Their excitement is contagious and brings the jennies and even the chickens all running. I’m not quite sure how it has evolved into the jennies not entering that barn. It used to be their hay barn. But they have decided it is safest to just look in the door. Some days I find myself in the feed barn with the two goats checking out every can lid to see if they can ‘help’. 😉 When I get them settled in their house I return to find the chickens in the feed room – with three jennies looking in the door. I need to get the chickens their peanut treat and walk them to their coop. Finally the donkeys get their bowls. You can imagine the expressions on their faces when they’ve had to be patient through those two moves!
Time to devote my energy to cheering on the Raptors! We’re big fans in this house. Game seven – in TO – vs Philly. Sure to be an exciting game!