Back at the Farm.
I am back to work after my New Zealand adventures. The animals look surprisingly good after their bout with the terrible cold. A few older chickens died and there is frostbite damage on a few combs but other than that the animals did OK.
BooBoo was overcome with happiness when he saw me arrive and has not let me out of his sight since.
Sheila gave me quite the growling, she was actually quite loud in her remonstrations for a time then after accepting my apologies she went back to making her bed. She is very fussy about her bed and resents having to share with Molly but by topping and tailing they both manage to fit into their tin shack.
The three little pigs are in excellent condition. They are eating well and have grown out of their baby house. When I arrived home in the night they were sleeping peacefully in the deep straw. I have still got them on free feed and this has made all the difference for them. The cold did not set them back at all.
John noted that one of the calves was coming out for his hay a little slower than the other so I watched closely for the day yesterday and one did seem to be lying in the warm creep for longer. So, I brought Aunty Del in for milking to test her milk and inspect her udder. Though there was a little milk present she gave no milk at all to the milk bucket which makes me think that either she is drying up or both calves are drinking from her and the little one (her own calf) is not getting enough.
Her udder felt fine so I am leaning towards the latter (knowing Inky). Also I think the weeks of extreme cold while I was away may have taken a toll on the calves energy levels. So I am going to provide grain for the calves in their calf creep for extra energy. Everything is about energy – getting it and losing it. After a few days of that I will separate the calves from the cows for a few hours, then milk Aunty again and see what happens. All are eating well and shiny so I am not too worried. Just keeping a close eye.
Just as soon as it thaws I will begin to clean out this hazardous cow shed and spread clean straw. All of these little piles of manure are frozen solid. It is hazardous for cows ankles.
The skies were leaden with unfallen ice yesterday. Only a little fell during the day (enough to make the paths very slick) but in the night I could hear the icy rain falling with its soft persistent ping of ice curtaining the windows against the night. Frozen rain makes for a dangerous day. However this morning I can hear dripping so already it is melting. At the time of writing – it is 33F/1C – our high for today and a welcome relief for those who have been ravaged by awfully low temps while I was away in New Zealand.
Though we can now expect MUD.
The forecast tells me this area will get as high as 50F/10C by the end of the week. We need to adapt to these wild oscillations in environmental conditions (no more gasps of shock) and make plans to guard against cold and health hiccups in the animals when it plummets again. And I am sure it will. We need to plan for it. I was caught unprepared for that much cold in December. That was not good. I know better.
Today looks like being OK, once the fog lifts there may even be sun.
Sheila my Petal.
Above is TonTon standing very sturdily on the ice. He lost a bit of weight while I was away as did Tane so I will make some changes in their diets now that I am home. Tane the crippled kunekune boar needs to be encouraged to walk out of his pen and be fed separately from Tima. John was unable to do this. He moves very slowly but I did manage to get him out and yesterday he had a good feed without fat Tima stealing his food. Ton just needs more food and more rest.
Wai (the potbelly rescue pig) has done very well. Due to his hibernating behaviour in the cold (no scraping the scabs off on his walks) his back has been healing very well. There are no cracks in the skin which is great. I was expecting the worst. He refused to come close to John at all while I was gone but he jolted out of his hut when he heard my voice yesterday morning. He padded across for a scratch and a moan to me – ate his apple and banana and went back to bed.
So, that is good.
I hope you have a lovely day.
I am looking forward to getting out amongst my animals again today. It is good to be back at work.