And poof! The woods are the woods again – the field is full of long grass again – and the skies carry sailing ships of rain that pour down between patches of sunshine.
Every week or so I let the jennies join the goats in the back field. I have to carefully time their grazing at the ‘buffet’. I’m even recording the day and amount of time on a calendar. Plus … I’m recording the status of Rosie’s ‘poop’ there too. It is obvious that these forays do not agree with her digestive system. It is an experiment this summer … I’m hoping I find that as we get farther on and the grass gets drier it will not have the same complication for her.
They are respecting the electric fence line. I’ve added a gate to this area from the goat woods. That way I can let them graze while the jennies eat only the hay provided when they are in the paddock. There is a bit of a wrinkle in this plan … the jennies get some miffed when they see Dot and May out there … AND the goats don’t like to be out there on their own. They want the jennies there with them. Ha! Best laid plans and all that. 😉
I’ve placed one of my benches at the back fence line. Then the goats feel okay about being out there. They munch away at the brush while the jennies lay their soulful disappointed eyes squarely on me!
Paddy has figured out that I am the source of peanuts. He keeps a close watch on where I am … and will usually find a way to plant himself nearby. It isn’t that he eats so many of them. If I give him one, nine times out of ten, he will call the hens and place it down for them to eat. Only after they’ve had lots will he then take a piece or two for himself. A gentleman that big guy!
Yesterday afternoon I had stopped for a rest up in the woods. The jennies, and goats and chickens were all hanging around. I had noticed Paddy was crowing more than usual. While I was in at lunchtime I mentioned to Ede that there must be a hen hiding somewhere … Paddy’s call was more strident than usual. It wasn’t until just after I took this shot that I realized there still was one less hen than six …
… and Paddy was still hyper vigilant and constantly calling. Dang! I searched the two paddocks, the rest of the woods, the back field … and only then did I remember … I had seen the hens in the hay barn when I took out a few flakes early that morning. Oikes! There she was. Lily was sitting on the bedding bale in the corner by the door … blinking her eyes at the light when I opened it. The poor girl was hot, thirsty and more than a little put out! I’m glad she was just stuck and not dinner!
This past week has brought a real onslaught of mosquitoes. They are mostly in the woods and in the shade. That’s meant that the goats are much happier to be out in the paddocks.
When the wind comes up you will find us on the hillside under the trees. It is lovely then. Not sure where the mozzies go on those days … maybe that’s when they start to hide out in the back field. Both the jennies and the goats notice that if they graze too long on a calm day the biters are at their bellies.
We’re finding ticks pretty much every day. One evening Ede realized there was one feasting between her fingers! She had just leaned into the garden to pull out a weed before she came inside. They are so tiny! It is hard to find them unless they are already attached … Ugh! Same on the jennies. I find them when I’m rubbing them down – but only if they are gorging and have a full sac that is noticeably not jenny hide. I don’t know if the chickens could even notice them when they were foraging. Although they are a bother Ede still feels they are much less bother than a noisy group of guinea hens… 😉
I’d be safe in betting that Tweedle Dee – with her long lower beak – is not picking them up!
I’ve just been watching some good thunderstorms roll by as I am sitting here on my couch dry and safe. Looks like the sun is coming out. Guess I could get back to work on the barn. I’m laying hardware fabric to try to keep unwanted guests from moving in underneath. Especially the stinky skunk type of guest!
Stay safe everyone.
Hugs from the Meadow Mice