Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Critical Mass

Ladies and Gentleman, we've arrived. We have officially reached the point where we are stretched so thin, and are wrangling so many animals (in addition to our house chores and day jobs) that we can handle no more.

Naomi, our adult doe, is NOT warming to Caspian. There have been a few scuffles, and really he's just trying to do his job (and get to know them). His attitude has been entirely friendly, and the kids don't have any issue with him, but Naomi really pushes him and he's lashed back at her a few times. I'm concerned that she may never get over it. Her milk production has also dropped drastically due to the stress. As much as we love her, we fear that if it comes down to it, she may be the one to have to go. We need a guard animal here, and she's such a queen that I'm afraid she will act this way with any guard animal we may bring in. Poor Caspian really wants to go into the barn, and she faces him down in the doorway every time. We're keeping them separated when we're not there to supervise, which is unfortunate since it keeps the goats in their barn and out of their yard most of the day. I only hope that with time and supervision, relations will improve.

As promised, I'll tell the tale of the chicken in the bathtub. As seems to happen in the country, we made a deal to trade our extra buck rabbit for a bantam game hen cross. We're not sure what she's crossed with, but she's very pretty. She's petite, with lovely brown, gold and green feathers and a tiny comb. She's also quite high strung, and that has made it really difficult for me to get a good picture of her. She's settled into her new apartment now, but the first night we had her, we had a storm coming in and no safe place to keep her, so she spend the night in a cage, in our bathtub with the shower door closed. Needless to say, she was NOT HAPPY about these accommodations and repeatedly complained to the management. The management tried repeatedly to explain to her that she, in fact, had the best room in the house that night and that she should be grateful. She was most decidedly NOT grateful. Meanwhile, our dog was deeply concerned that there was a THING! in the BATHROOM! and WE should know about it! Every five minutes or so. Sigh.

I picked up our 26 chicks from the hatchery on Monday morning, and all are healthy and adorable. Incidentally, when the post office calls you to pick up your chicks, they call you at 6:30 in the morning. No one prepared me for that! The babies are doing fine in the brooders, but I can already tell that they won't be as smart or self sufficient as the chicks being raised by their mama outside. It's okay, though - we got quite a variety, and it will be some time before I'm able to tell what they all are, so that will be fun!

some of the babies

Having 26 chicks in the house and another 9 outside seemed like a lot, but it turns out they arrived just in the nick of time. Little did we know that all hell was about to break loose, and our hen population was about to experience a sharp decline.

To Be Continued...

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