Goats, rabbits, chickens (pages)

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Boy, would it have been nice to stay snuggled in bed this morning. Four degrees is cold regardless of how many layers of sweaters, coats and scarves one is wearing.

I operate by my grandpa's play book: animals eat before humans. So, I get up, fix my HOT herbal infusion in my handy-dandy-travel-everywhere cup, bundle up and head out to fire up ZUZU.

ZUZU is our handy-dandy little farm truck. It's like The Little Engine That Could.

The first order of business is breakfast for the critters and hauling wateris a major part of that. It's my least favorite thing to do on the farm. Behind, even, shoveling manure on a hot day. I keep the buckets in the back of ZUZU, drive around to the side of the cottage where the frost-free water spigots are. We have one for the well and one for county water.

I fill a bucket then hoist it into the truck. I consider it a good morning if I don't spill half the contents all over my coveralls. I add a glug of apple cider vinegar to each bucket.

The water splashes out as I drive so there's a layer of ice on everything in the truck. And, on a morning like today, the buckets freeze to the truck before I finish my rounds.

Briarpatch is the first stop.

It's our bunny village; population 6.

We don't have heated waterers for the rabbits (yet). At first I tried putting out their regular water bottles, but even though the water was unthawed, at this temperature the little metal ball froze half way down the spout the instant I tipped it bottoms up. So, I opt for a line of cat food cans. Heaven knows I have plenty. I put out several, fill them with water and go back twice more during the day to remove the frozen ones and replace with fresh water.

This procedure usually gets my gloves wet before it's all said and done.

Next are the goats.

Some of them always climb up and peek over their stalls; this is Daisy and Button with Betty in the background. Aren't they adorable?

On the morning run I don't worry too much about their individual buckets as there is water in a heated container in the common area.

Now it's on to the chicken coop which also has heated water containers. But, unlike the goat water, the chicken water ALWAYS has to be changed. When the weather is bad they hang out in their coop scratching the floor and singing their little chicken songs. This gets straw and other questionable things in the water.

Sometimes even if there is snow on the ground they will venture out, especially if the sun is shining.

Last stop is the rodent-patrol: our passel of cats. We have a barn cat, a cottage cat, two house cats and four farm cats. We keep the farm cats food, bed and heated water in a protected breezeway area between the cottage and the garage/workshop. The barn cat-Boots-hangs out with the goats. I keep his food up on top a cabinet and he drinks out of the goats heated water. This may sound like a lot of cats, but we have no mice and that's saying something for a working farm.

Sunny cuddled up with our dog, Cassie. All the cats just love her; she's their "doggie-mama". She nursed most of them when they were kittens. Really. She had milk and everything.

All done; now it's time for my breakfast. I think it's even warmed up a degree.
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