Animal Meltdown

I don’t know what happened either this morning or last night, but the mother to the two ducklings is missing.  That leaves two screaming ducklings wandering around looking for their mother.  Great.  For now, I put them up in the chick pen (the chicks have been allowed out during the day to forage) and I’ll figure out what to do with them later.  Hopefully, their mother will turn up, but I’m not holding my breath.

The second duck that was sitting came off her nest and a hen took over.  I removed the hen and tried to put the duck back on her nest, but she didn’t stay there.  Later on, I discovered the duck came back to her nest, but the hen wouldn’t let her have the nest back.  I removed the hen again and hopefully the duck will stay on the nest.  Her eggs should be close to hatching.  I tried to put the broody hen into a separate cage where we have one hen sitting, but so far, she’s eluded me.

There’s another duck nesting near the dog run where I have Split and the puppies stationed.  Probably not the best place for her given Split’s recent duck killing exploits, but I don’t think Split can get at the duck where she’s setting and we haven’t been letting her loose without close supervision.  The puppies can get to the duck, but she can defend herself from the puppies.

The puppies are a ton of fun!  I find it hard to get much done because I keep wandering out there to play with them.  They are a delightful bunch.

A third duck is sitting in the second hen house.  She’s sharing her nest with a hen, which turned out to be a good thing because the night before last, she got shut out of the house.  The hen kept the eggs covered.  It ought to be interesting to see what happens if those eggs hatch.  At least this time, if chicks hatch from this nest, the hen can take care of them, leaving the ducklings for the duck.  I still wish that I had taken that single chick and fostered it instead of leaving it with the duck.

Next year, we need to set up a separate maternity ward for the broody ducks and hens.  I surely won’t be buying any chicks next year.  I shouldn’t have bought any this year.

Both yesterday and today, I brought the goats and cows down into the back pasture and left them there.  They can graze and browse to their hearts’ content in the shade.  Of course, the goats are not happy with this arrangement.  The lazy beasts would rather lounge in their shelter all day.

Maybe it’s my imagination, but Gwen’s limp seems better.  As I was walking back and forth with them both this morning and yesterday, she was almost running when before she moved along slowly and seemingly painfully.  She’s put on a good amount of weight, her hair coat looks better and she’s starting to show signs of pregnancy.  She’s officially adopted Spot as her baby and defends him against Gel.  I put Spot up in the poultry pasture at night so I can have her milk in the morning.  Then Spot has access to the milk bar all day.  He very much likes that arrangement.  Unfortunately, it isn’t going to last for him too much longer and I’ll have to keep them permanently separated.  I am pleased to say that I’ve finally mastered milking her.  It’s about time!  As I write this, I’m enjoying a big glass of goat milk.

Later this afternoon, I need to go to a local meat processor and pick up beef hearts, kidneys and bone shavings, all for free!  The dogs love, love, love the bone shavings and I love getting free meat.

Yesterday I managed to get the back half of the house very clean.  I did deep cleaning this time.  Today I hope to get the front half done.

Lately, Wally and I have been watching a lot of fantasy shows and movies.  I think it’s because we are both trying to escape reality.  Our lives are not bad, not by any means, but the clouds that hang over our respective heads tend to dampen our moods on a regular basis.  These are really difficult times, but the economy is getting better, right? I don’t think so.  At least we have our health, a beautiful place to live, good food, much of which we have raised and of course our good relationship.

Until later …