Spring Jumble

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We just had a great visit with James’s family. It never gets old – introducing new little ones to our life with farm critters. Winnie loved seeing so many new animals. Her eyes would sparkle and she’d smile – ready to get up close whenever she could.

Gus worked his way from ‘looking on’ to being right in the thick of things.

In no time at all he was brushing the jennies, gathering the eggs and helping me to clean up the paddocks. While we worked away this morning he paused and asked, ‘Gramma Wen? You know these poops will compost and they would make good new soil. Why do you pick them up?’ There sure is a lot going on in that little noggin’ of his! By the way – the answer is … flies … bugs … mozzies … and flies. 😉

He quite liked the ducks … and mastered the slow shuffle of ‘walk like a duck’ so they wouldn’t be frightened off when he was about. In the mornings he would find himself a good stick and break up the ice in the pools.

Much to the delight of the hens! I sure love hearing them splashing around.

This was a good ‘trial run’ for me with regard to the wave of avian influenza in our province this spring. We made sure everyone wore ONLY our farm boots when in the paddocks and coops. We had a boot bath to wash our boots after the boys went for a walk in the fields.

The ducks are out in their open run … as they don’t have any covered space to speak of … other than their sleeping quarters. The three chicken coops are in ‘flockdown’. I’m feeling pretty good about two of those. The ones with dirt floors are much more ‘chicken friendly’. Having dirt to dig in and to bathe in … seems to help a group pass the inside hours more naturally than the group that is in our ‘Palace Coop’. It has a solid floor … no digging down to dirt in there. Funny how what was the best space in the winter is the bottom of the rankings for the summer. I’ll need to keep adding enrichment to that space.

I read an interesting column on roosters yesterday. Good to keep in mind this time of year. I’ve had to scoop up Bram a number of times lately. He has taken to giving me a good peck when he thinks I’m out of line. His spring hormones are in full swing … all his brain thinks about is protecting his hens. By scooping him up and carrying him around – head down – I am reinforcing that I am still the one in charge. He is getting the message. The flockdown is good timing for his first spring. I think he’d manage to take almost anyone else on!

Bella has taken full advantage of the thawing hillside. She has somehow dug herself a hole that is deep enough to disappear into! There seem to be some good roots down there.

The goats have reclaimed their favourite sunning posts.

We are all heaving a long sigh of relief at the arrival of spring.

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