Being on the farm and watching the animals from a distance, adds knowledge, understanding and perspective to the meaning of life, if you take the time to think about what you observe.
Not so much recently due to our schedule, family illness and the changing of the seasons......but in the past, I’ve had the opportunity to relax and watch the animals actually “living” their lives under my silent, observing eye.
Our alpacas and the two sheep are highly sensitive and social animals...longing to be with one another...sophisticatedly communal and living within a hierarchy of their own...established in the same way we do politically, but using a silent vote, which we never see or hear. Right now, Luke is the dominant male (all our alpacas are males for obvious reasons) of the group, numbering seven, because he is the intact male and unchallenged ruler of the farm herd. Brooklyn Slugger and Brooklyn Phoenix are both intact juvenile males too, but new to the herd by a few months and will be gelded before actually allowing them to mingle together, for safety reasons. We refuse to add females to the mix because we would immediately experience herd problems due to male fighting and because a female is immediately in season once in the presence of an intact male and she will become pregnant, giving birth in eleven months...and can again become pregnant, while still nursing that cria, so we choose to not subject ourselves and the herd to those “exciting” and out of control fighting and expansion potentials.
That aside, I love to watch as they co-exist peacefully within their domain...browsing for awhile and then heading to the barn or a shady corner to lie down and snooze or peacefully chew their cud before browsing again in the late afternoon. They almost always bed down early in the evening, around twilight, chewing their cud and mooing contentedly into the evening. If it is extremely hot, they tend to bed down in the barn in front of the oscillating fans, but if it is clear and cold, you can bet they will be in the pasture, near the barn for the entire night.
The chickens are heathens.....simply stated....like Neanderthal creatures. They pick and flog one another for no apparent reason...will kill another if it has one little imperfection or spot if blood on it, in their half baked attempt to keep that affliction from spreading throughout the flock. We must remove an ailing chicken to a separate area for them to recover a small injury or the others will simply kill it. They will find a near dead chicken and mate it repeatedly in mob rape fashion until and after its death, reinforcing their brutal, monstrously medieval behavior. Seldom does a chicken possess any type of personality...they all act alike.
Ducks on the other hand are highly social...yet strictly adhere to a flock behavior. If five happen to hatch out and grow as a group...they will be a five count group for life...even when they actually enter the overall flock and live there on a daily basis. They stay together in the duck house, mingling throughout the night and time in there, but as soon as the door is open to allow them access to the outdoor world, they break off into their respective groups in which they hatched and grew up with.
Each duck possesses an individual personality and never changes....from the way it walks to the head motions when it talks... to the places it goes and how it eats. When a duck looses it’s mate, they continue on alone for awhile until they seem to find it okay to mate up with another duck, being sexually active all the while, but when a couple exists, the male doesn’t want another male breeding his female, but will sometimes wonder off to breed another female. Perhaps they are too much like most males in that regard, but geese do not exhibit this kind of behavior. They mate for life and actually morn the loss of their mates and a lot of times will not take another mate. My kind of animal....they are strong yet sensitive... outgoing, yet sincere and monogamous, caring for their relationship.
These are things we see and ponder over on the farm on a daily basis. It’s not always about the hard work and long hours...and there are positively all these hidden benefits that others seldom experience. I wouldn’t give it up for the world!
Each day is a new and exciting experience in life.
042951Cluckin' "A" Critter Farm, LLC