Finally...spring 2012 has almost arrived! We have been waiting on this ever since those frigid cold, below zero days of January. Sure we have had a tepid winter by most standards, with short sleeve weather in February, but we still like those days when you can find relief in the cool morning, as we sit on the rear deck or front porch sipping coffee and listening to those wondrous, early morning sounds as the world awakens. I love the feel of the morning sun on my body...penetrating...relaxing. The feeling is likened to the touch of a masseuse as they kneed and massage sore muscles. Combine the relaxing feel of the sun and the fragrant smell of flowers blossoming and you’re set for the day.
I also love the exuberance of the animals as they dash from the barn, to begin their foraging day...some following the others, while some strike off for parts unknown, all alone. Every one of them seems to have their very purpose in life at the top of their list and is eager to fulfill it daily. I see that same behavior day after day, without fail.
The ducks have a hierarchy of their own in the animal kingdom. No one is betterthan another, yet one is always the leader. They grow in little groups and they stay in those little groups as long as possible, never changing, except due to a catastrophic loss in the group. Every duck we have on the farm is housed inside at night and they all eat, sleep and mingle together from dusk to dawn. In the morning when the doors are kicked open, you can bet that every little group of ducks will magically reform and off they will go in separate directions as soon as they clear the doorway to freedom.
Chickens act the same way, but are much more territorial and violent. If a chicken from one barn were to enter another barn, the regular residents would kill it immediately...pecking it to death. If we must introduce a chicken to a new barn, it must be cordoned off with a barrier in which the bird will live for two weeks. They become accepted slowly from behind the fenced enclosure due to being in there amongst the others for those two weeks while safely protected by the fenced walls. We use a round portable dog fence that is four feet high and using two of these, we can create an area within the barn of three feet by twelve feet, along a wall. That affords plenty of room for exercise, feed and water containers, yet keeps them among the others, but safely away from fighting. After two weeks we remove the fencing and they continue to live as if they lived there forever.....without problem.
Just as there is turmoil in nature and animals clash and kill one another, the same is true from time to time on the farm. Sometimes there are disagreements among animals that we do not understand and we find one dead...killed by the others. Usually these were sick or injured animals and the others know it would not make it, so they put them out of their misery...sometimes it seems brutal to us, but often I have wondered.
All in all, I would not give up this life on the farm for another. I am happier than I have ever been in my entire life and doing what I do is a way of life I cherish.
God has been good to me and I give him thanks daily for all I have....especially Vick, my soulmate and best friend.
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046517 Cluckin' "A" Critter Farm, LLC