Welcoming Animals in our Homestead

Welcoming Animals in our Homestead There has been much preparation and work done around our property in the lead up to the time we would introduce animals on the homestead.

My husband built our main chicken coop as we awaited the arrival of my parents’ chooks. It seems the baton was passed on to us to continue their legacy of raising chooks as well as gardening.

Both my parents’ chooks and quails arrived Saturday week.

The quails didn’t have an adequate housing arrangement. Unsure what type of cage or environment would best suit them, we kept them temporarily in a rabbit cage with a big enough run. My husband mentally built a cage, and low and behold, before the end of the week he had found one that was similar to his plan but that needed some transformation. In no time at all, it had been transformed into the perfect quail home. At least that’s my take on it. Shortly after moving them, we noticed they were more active, scratching the ground, bathing in the dirt. Let’s hope they soon start laying again, as they stopped as soon as they arrived at the farm.

Friday evening saw the arrival of a long awaited Jack Russell pup.

She is gorgeous and already has stolen a part of our hearts. This cute little ball of fur following our every step, being vocal when she wants to come indoor, has chosen for herself the place she likes to go and rest: in the garage on a blanket against a pair of gum boots and near one of Noah’s (our grandchild) jacket.

As if there wasn’t enough emotions sparked up by welcoming a dog in our home, we also had the arrival of two calves on Saturday and three supposedly pregnant ewes on Sunday.

At this point in time, the ewes are not adding much work. They look after themselves. Our mission is to work on gaining their trust. After all, they should give us a few lambs by next spring.

Now when it comes to the two calves, well they have won my heart too. These gorgeous babies with such big eyelashes are both under two weeks. They need to be hand reared. From the advice we have received, this can be challenging. There can be complications. We were told that scouring can happen, which could even lead to the death of a calf. As you can imagine, that has place some fear in me. I sure don’t want to lose one due to negligence. We are intent on following the good advice given to us. Maybe in a couple of months we may write a blog on our first experience in hand rearing calves.

Our expert neighbour has mentioned to us on several occasions that on a farm one must be prepared to bury animals. We won’t mention the many scenarios that could happen. The only one that I will mention is the one we have just experienced. Our cat Peanut came in for his breakfast (we don’t place its food outside as the dog would eat it before he gets to it). He had just finished eating as we walked out the door to feed our calves. When we came back, somehow he had managed to make a toy out of our live canary. All doors to the cage were still closed as we have them secured for that very purpose, but the cage had been pulled down from its place and Spongebob the canary was found dead 2 metres away from its cage, all doors still firmly closed. There were a few tears shed as he daily filled the house with his heavenly songs. They were so beautiful and uplifting.

I guess I better get my emotions in check if I want to be a successful farmer. There’s lots of fun and adventure to be had on the farm. We cannot let the negatives overshadow the good.

Let see what our next adventure on this journey will bring us.

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