It is 6:15 a.m. and I’ve just come in from morning chores.
Some mornings are easier than others and today was one of those days. The weather plays a part, to be sure. This morning’s balmy and drizzly 46 degrees freed me of dealing with frozen pig water and the dragging of hoses hither and yon. Dave fed the chickens last night, so they would only need their coops opened and their waterers filled. The goats would only need breakfast.
The pigs had water, so only needed feeding. The deep muck that now comprises the majority of their enclosure presents a special sort of challenge to the boot-wearing human and, rather than risk being sucked into the mud and subsquently devoured by hungry pigs, I opted to treat them to a bucketful of composted veggies. This distracts them and allows me to journey, unmolested, to fill their feed troughs.
Here’s the real rub though–other than the dogs, the pigs were the only awake animals on the farm.
I am not making this up. Not only were the roosters not crowing, not one of the chickens so much as bothered to get down from its roost. The barn cats raised their eyes briefly at me and snuggled deeper down into their feline dreams. The goats, whose bleating I can normally hear from 100 yards away (at least), were so silent I worried something was wrong.
Now, when a person gets up at 5:45, puts on a pot of coffee, and takes the dogs out, that person is doing it for a reason. Early-riser is driven by some extrnal driving force. Perhaps s/he has to be at work; maybe s/he is an early-morning exerciser or meditator; possibly s/he has a small farm full of animals who are eagerly awaiting care and feeding. Eagerly. Awaiting.
So, I am not driven to extract myself from my warm and restful slumber to trudge around in the slippery, pre-dawn darkness for a bunch of creatures that have just hit their snooze button.
The goats at least had the decency to eventually get up and act like they were happy to see me.
I’m going back to bed.
I had the opposite experience this morning. There was a lot of commotion coming from the barn, earlier than normal. So, grumbling, I suited up sans coffee and went out to see what was the matter. Turns out two of our goats had put their heads trough a cattle panel I’m using to make a temporary extra stall for winter and gotten themselves stuck there. Meanwhile one of our does had kidded but had chosen to nurse the day old kids of a different doe (who was at the moment preoccupied with trying to get her head unstuck and/or to wake me with her screams), rather than her own. Once the situation had been restored to what we call normal, I was able to come in and have my coffee. 🙂
I am fascinated by the winter kidding on your farm. We have opted to let Dot go another year without kids because we didn’t want to breed her too young and we thought that she should kid in the spring or not at all. I’d love your input on this as waiting is not really part of my genetic make-up and I sure do miss that milk!
We’ve always waited until the does were a year old before letting them breed, but we’ve also always let ours kid year round as we’re aiming for 3 kiddings every 2 years. We do have a higher mortality rate with the winter kiddings, but those who are born healthy have a higher survival rate than kids born in the warm months (who are more likely to get worms). As of this year we’re just letting the girls run with the buck year round and we’re letting nature decide when they kid. There are lots of different philosophies on what’s best.
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