No sun yesterday but I was still emotionally topped up on the abundant sunshine from the day before so we had a good day.
In the night I put on my rooster gloves and went into the chook house and caught the last three big roosters trying to hide in there amongst the hens. They go straight out the door then go to perch in the Rat House or the barn. Once they were gone, and with no lights so as not to startle the little birds, I wired the little chicks dog crate door open, I make it so it will stay open so the little ones can come and go at will in the morning. I wire it open with just enough room for them to get out but not enough space for a big chook to get into their hidey hole. And with plenty of wire in between so the door is propped open. The tweens get a bit bullied in their first few days of freedom so they have to have somewhere to run that is safe.
When it was very cold just before Christmas a few of the young roosters got frostbite on their combs. It shows up as all white at first then as the weeks go on it dries up to black and then after a while the affected part of the comb drops off. It is best to leave this process to nature so the comb stays sealed and breathing throughout. I have heard talk of trimming or vaseline. But I feel it is better to let it be and avoid the risk of infection and trauma.
It does look like a very well maintained mohawk though doesn’t it. When I buy layers I try to bring in birds with shorter combs, the short combed birds do much better in the cold. But sometimes the farm bred birds revert.
Yesterday I took out the piglets blue plastic fish tank house, they are getting too big for it now. I gave it back to Tima and Tane. (Who refused to sleep in it because it smelt funny). Then, with the tractor, John brought one of the tin huts up from the field and to the door of the barn and I very, very slowly dragged it right around the barn and into the center of the pigs area. Into the piglets open plan bedroom.
I worked slowly for two reasons, I was surrounded in a swarm of excited piglets during the whole procedure plus it is heavy. Small women can shift big heavy things, we just work slowly and not being able to rely on brawn we use our brains. I prefer to do this kind of thing alone so I can control the situation and take my time. Then there are no accidents due to speed and temper outbreaks. I just plod along at my own pace. After a while it was in place and straight and there were no squashed piglets and everyone is still happy. I filled the hut with straw and the little pigs looked like little pigs again when they were all snuggled into it last night. Warm in a little hut inside a big airy barn.
Here is a better shot of the calves feeding gate. Txiki (on the right) takes after her Dexter mother – she is a very sturdy little heifer. These Angus/Holstein calves have already caught up with her.
Last night when I checked the barn on the way back from the Chook House I saw that Tia the calf was lying next to Sheila the biggest pig again. Sheila makes her big high sided bed, then pushes through the center of her bed making a kind of two sided ditch to sleep in and Tia leans up into one side of it, her back to the big hog. So they are not actually touching, with the layer of hay between – cows do not cuddle up like pigs do – but it looked to me that Sheila would be able to feel the warmth of her calf through the hay.
They often sleep like this – there is a photo on instagram somewhere. Which reminds me, if you scroll right down this page and right past the comments and to the bottom of the blog you will be able to see the latest instagram picture even if you are not a part of that social media spiders web.
I hope you have a lovely day.
The weather forecast is for another mild cloudy day. We are aimed at 41f/5c. So it will be another busy outside day.
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