Chooks are very strict Babysitters

This is a scene I happen upon quite often lately. The chooks put the kittens down for their afternoon nap then slowly surround them.  Babysitting. These two sister chickens are always the closest to the kittens. You may remember them from the spring when they were job sharing one small chick, who they eventually lost.abwalkies-002

Now they have taken over the duties of babysitting the kittens. If I had zoomed out further you would have seen more chooks and all the peacocks, who often make up the outer circle  but they all moved off when I appeared. abwalkies-004

But these two who would not leave their babysitting posts for all the tea in china. This little scene is usually in a sunny corner, I am not sure why the babies were put to bed in the calfs pen yesterday afternoon. Bobby was outside.

Now look below – do you see what I see?

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Yes. Someone broke the sheep’s door. Maybe Mia and Mama are getting too fat to fit through the door anymore, or maybe they all decided to try and go through at the same time with Hairy being a bit rammy. Old barn doors that are frozen to the ground break easily. This goes on the repairs list. And when it thaws a bit more today I shall dig out the door and push it along to make the gap wider. abwalkies-016

We  went for a walk yesterday. abwalkies-021My friends and I, though Daisy is in a crazy mood lately 

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chasing everyone and larking about. Once we got out in the field she was more interested in finding a little grass to pull up.

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Li’l Puss rides on my shoulder most of the time that I am in the barn ( he uses his claws if you try to shift him off before he is ready), and follows along behind when I am out and about. He has been seen jumping onto the backs of cows. Queenie does not seem to mind but Daisy always startles and looks back in that totally dislocated way that cows can and says Get Off.  But L’il Puss will only get off if he is close enough to a fence for a dignified dismount. I will get a shot of this one day soon.

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The Daily View.

Good morning. Today will be another warmish day so we will spend time outside doing repairs and mucking out pens while it is comfortable to work out there.  John is still off work (he does not work in the winter)  so this is the time of year to get ahead on the heavy chores if we can get outside.

Daisy, who went through a period of good behaviour, has started jumping and kicking again during the second half of her milking, I will test her again for mastitis, then as soon as her homeopathic remedies arrive (today hopefully) I shall begin to transition her to once a day milking (OAD).  This will take the pressure off everyone (though The Bobby will need to be weaned from milk if her production drops too far) and I will move her milking time to late morning when it is warmer.  The plan is that I can milk her once a day through to the spring when I will get her pregnant again. So let’s hope that plan works out. Once a day milking is much easier on the cow and the humans. My research tells me that I can expect anything from a 10% to a 30% drop in milk. Though the fat content will be higher and the cow will put on some weight. I will be vigilant as far as health goes as the risk of mastitis over that transition period is much higher.  But it is time. I have pushed her far enough.

You all have a lovely day. We will.

celi

71 Comments on “Chooks are very strict Babysitters

  1. Chickens are everyone’s friend I think although we did have one hen who hated cats and would give a fierce peck to one if it so much as looked at her! You may remember too that we’ve had a couple of hens in the past who have shared anest with a duck. Hope all goes well with Daisy – all these things we need to learn!
    Christine

    • I am sure the babysitters peck these kittens if they try to move, this is why they lie where they are told so quietly.. have a lovely day.. c

  2. Love the chicken babysitters! How funny that they’ve adopted the kittens. I’m amazed at how well everyone gets along on the farmy. 🙂

    • He has always done it with The Tall Teenager but lately if i lean too close to a post, usually to take a photo, he simply steps across. It is ok while I am in winter coats, he is a bit of a snuggler though and I am not!! Having a cat peering at your eyelashes while you are trying to take a shot is a little disconcerting.. c

  3. I looks anything but warmish to me. Morning C. I really feel for Daisy, having had mastitis myself in the distant past. I hope the once-a-day milking works out.

    • I have also, this is why I have to make sure she is healthy before I start to go to Once a Day, there are dairy’s now that whole herds of cows are being milked once a day and as it is cheaper cost wise , for slightly less milk that has a higher fat content, they are coming out ahead which is encouraging.. c

        • she is close to being on heat so yes absolutely, she always gets naughty round about then.. up to a week ahead.. but she has to wait until march/april.. it all depends on how long WE can hold out. c

  4. How adorable that the chicks baby sit the kittens; it’s a good thing they weren’t born with the instinct to be enemies. Daisy looks a little thin or maybe it’s just the angle of the shot. Those naughty sheep. Have a lovely day C it’s chilly but sunny here and they’re predicting a thaw of 9-11C here by Friday.

    • Daisy’s breed (Ayrshire) is pretty tall and angular but she has been milking quite big amounts for over 7 months now. And I don’t want to take advantage of the cow, she can give less milk now as long as she will keep going. If she were a beef cow she would be weaning her calf off by now so it is time. morning eva.. c

  5. Love the babysitters!!! Well—I love the kitties more but love the thought that the chooks are responsible enough to do the job!!! Lovely pictures as always. Makes me smile to see all the critters!

    • It is amusing how they are always surrounded by these chickens when they are sleeping, maybe it is a warmth thing, but they never sleep alone.. morning beth ann.. c

    • The chickens could have their own nanny service, getting calls from around the barnyard to mind other animals babies.(maybe a little ground squirrel is their messenger) . the chooks clucking about the farm with their bags full of tricks and colouring pencils! exchanging stories of badly behaved lambs or peachicks.. c

  6. Oh your chooks are wonderful and so responsible! All your club of personalities look healthy and happy. (remember I would never denigrate them with the term ‘animals) Have a wonderful day!

  7. One of my Spaniel bitches (many years ago) developed mastitis as she was weaning the pups, and we couldn’t give her anitibiotics. My vet recommenended covering her mams with warm cabbage leaves before and after feeding the pups – and the inflammation soon calmed down. I think it also helps with letting down of the milk.
    No it wouldn’t have been sweat Hairy Maclairy that broke the barn door? NIce to see him again 🙂 simply love the chook babysitting service. Morning Mis C. Laura

    • I am just double checking that she is well before we start the transition.. .. there is no sign of mastitis.. but i feel I have read about the cabbage leaves before.. did it work?

      • Sure seemed to reduce the heat and inflammation until such time we could wean the pups fully and get mum onto some conventional treatment. I would be interested to see how you would apply this to Daisy. I just used surgical tape to stick it on the most hairless bits of skin. She didn’t fight it – so she must have felt some relief. Laura

  8. Li’l Puss a cowpoke! I’ve a feeling there’s more to this cat than meets the eye. Good to see the kittens are being so closely attended. But chicken babysitters? Who’d-a-thunk?
    Great post today, Celi. Enjoy the sunshine and warmth while you can! Heaven knows how long we’ll have either one.

  9. Oh, the farmie’s peaceable kingdom – such nice kitten guardians.
    The barn doors reminded me of a house we had with cat doors which the Westie could fit through (house backed up to a farmer’s pasture so no way would cats stay indoors with al that to explore). A few years later we adopted a Bouvier – who got rather large, but in bad weather would try to follow the cat in through the cat door if it thundered…bent the metal frame up pretty badly trying to get the shoulders in. We did replace with a large do door – we found my 6 yr old daughter and friends used it as a quick entrance. Husband decided we either just hinge the door at the top for everyone or put a solid door in. Considering the nerve of the visiting raccoons, we opted to replace the door and build shelters for dog and cat for emergencies when we weren’t home to see their scowling faces glued to the window.
    I can so see the large farm animals shouldering in…they were sure you meant to include them.
    (If you get time, I wrote a post about stalking – I’ve held off for some time and tried to not make it too harsh. would be interested in what you think)

  10. Daisy has a very caring human !! There is so much more to this whole
    “milk cow” than appears. I thought walking to and fro to pasture was
    the biggest responsibility !! I continue to look forward to checking in on
    the Farmy every morning !! I hope you have a peaceful day.

  11. There was a whole book in your post this morning Celi. I am rooting for success with the lovely Daisy. I yearn for your sunny skies. It has been relentless rain here – the most in 4 decades. Have a great day. V.

  12. Is it your best guess that the kittens will remain friends with the chooks? I’m surprised by the relationship, but it’s precious. I hope the homeopathic remedies come in today for poor Daisy. There is so much to balance there on the farmy! The daily view is beautiful. I must have missed the post when the car (was that the vehicle?) moved. I enjoy watching snow levels.

    • Historically if an animal is at ease with another when he is little then it will carry on but with less of the cuddly. Thing One will still hang out with Daisy but does not sleep with her anymore. Those baby animals just love everyone.. so sweet.. c

      • Thanks for responding, Celi. I think it’s just fascinating to watch the animals have their own little social interactions. There’s a lot to learn from them, I’m sure! 🙂

  13. It´s all looking so beautiful! Chickens are such funny Little things. Ours are often “herded” back into their área of the olive grove by our pups if they wander too far 🙂

  14. I hope the chooks can keep the kittens away from the coyotes…
    I’m in Napier for the next few days… Thinking of you 🙂

  15. Who knew that chickens would babysit cats and that the cats wouldn’t try and chase them? I sure didn’t, but everyone looks pleased with the situation. Those shush sisters sure are looking fine, fat and sassy!

  16. That is so adorable with the kittens and I love reading about the others animals as well. You could be the new E.B White 🙂

  17. P and I think it’s extraordinary that the hens would care for those kittens as they do. Wonderous. Good evening. c. Time for bed. 🙂

  18. Well, I have learned something again: never mind the chook babysitters, did not know kittens went down like babies for afternoon naps :)! Love the look of the daily view today . . . and the assuredness in Li’l Puss’s gait!!

  19. Don’t you love the flexibility of being able to milk once or twice a day? I milk my goats once a day for their entire lactation period because it suits my needs and lifestyle, but it’s nice to know if I needed more milk I could switch to twice a day.

  20. There must be some strange connection between chickens and cats. Our friend Fleur has a flock of hens (used to have roosters as well) and her cat Bumblebee watches over them and protects them from mongoose and such. Now the Bee has only 3 legs, but he’s as vigilant as ever!

  21. I can’t get over the size of the rooster sitting above the kittens. He’s huge! Great plumage, too. Li’l Puss has the prettiest face with those light markings.

  22. Oh C, would you look at those little kittens being baby-sat – too darn precious for words and as for Li’l Puss on your shoulders – I cannot wait to see a pic of that. The farmy is looking lovely in its white blanket.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  23. I picked up the new copy of Hobby Farms magazine last weekend, and thought of you when I saw the article on OAD milking…then promptly forgot about it.
    Hope Daisy settles, and soon!

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