For all of you who took the time to comment last night... I have to confess to you that I was afraid to make my own. I have numerous friends who have good hearts, but believe that there should be a home for every animal born. In a perfect world, there would be. But my friend who is still breeding... in fact, who bought two more studs last year.... to breed cross-breds.... and has not been able to sell any of the progeny for the last two years, has taken in only one old mare herself. It is the people who are in the "business" of breeding who provoke the glut... who do not vet their animals until they are almost dead... whose horses I see standing in their pastures thin and with dirty water (NOT my friend's, by the way) ... that my heart goes out to. With two exceptions, all the animals here in our home are neutered... the kittens have not been yet, but will be (Josie very soon, within the month). Jenny, we are not so sure about still...she is still fighting the herpesvirus. Josie had her shots before Jenny came, so though she has some of it, it is not as fierce as poor little Jenny's. We still hope for the best and we have spent hundreds of dollars with our vet to make her well.
The male llama, Tony, was gelded last spring, when we lost his brother, the beautiful Yankee. Aztec was the product of an unexpected breeding the night we brought Inca home, thinking Tony was still too young. Aztec will be the last cria born here, but we have enjoyed him very much, and he, too, will have to be gelded.
Our dogs are spayed or neutered, but I have to admit we have had MANY chicks born here. And had one Summer of the Rabbit, which I will write about sometime so you will all have a laugh.
Hay right now is selling rather cheaply, because it is the end of winter. We have only had to buy about sixteen bales because of the three llamas, the least we have bought since moving here. We found some good hay just a few miles from us, but some of you may be interested to know that there are large bales lying unsold and unused in the fields all around here. They are not covered, and have sat out all winter with the snow and bad weather. We prefer small squares, as our little hay barn can hold a dozen easily. It has repaid itself many times over as a holder of the hay, straw and feed cans for the llamas and horses. To buy small squares in the pasture or out of the barn in the fall varied between $3 and $4, and now, at the feed store, they are going for $5.50 and $6.00 a bale. Quality varies, I found some full of stalks of weeds in the middle. Some I would not feed the llamas, and I dressed the gardens with it. I would defnitely not have fed it to the horses.
We have talked about getting another pony or two, or a horse and pony when I retire. I think we will have to have a barn in place, a real barn, with four walls and doors, before we do that. I don't ever want to put a pony through a bad winter like Beau had to go through last year again. Keith and I have said to each other all winter.... "Thank heavens old Beau is not going through this".... The thing is, we can get a decent quiet pony and a quiet old horse for next to nothing now, and the rescues are full.... so we may do that, and give a home to two. That's a decision we will make in the next year.
Four of our chickens were also adopted.... the good Rambo, our hip-checking Buff Orpington rooster whose son is the leader of the big flock now, and three good hens... from an animal control agency.
Keith is still out of town, but will be home tomorrow night. For three nights now, the dogs have been listening for him, their heads to the door at every little sound. In the night, something visited our bird seed cans by the porch, and set them all off. (Racoon?)
So tonight, after yet another busy day at the office, I came home to do chores. The starlings had hit the henhouse again despite the warm weather (50s)... and the feed was gone... but in the little henyard, here is what I found:
The most beautiful of the blue silkies, outside for the first time in her young life
Sign in the frozen ground this morning of llamas and hens, in the pasture
my poor old Nanny, one of the last of the purebred Japanese bantams, showing signs of either mite infection, or some other infection... she has also lost feathers on her chest and shoulders. I was dismayed to see her derriere from the rafters. I have ordered diatomaceous earth, food-grade, but it has not come in yet. This is not just good for the llamas to eat with their feed... for a wormer, but also for the chickens to take their dust baths in. As soon as the first good weekend, Keith and I are going to tear into the big henhouse and give it a good cleaning, but we have to do it on a day the birds are outside. Then, when we move the "big flock" over to the new building, we'll clean it down to the walls, pulling down the rest of the drywall, so the snakes have nowhere to hide, and clean it good for mites, etc.
I'll try to catch Nanny tomorrow and take a good look at her, she may have to be isolated in the nursing cage... but she is actually a six year old, long past laying, and it may just be close to her time. I have always liked her, and will be sorry when she crosses the bridge for the last time.
I'll get off my soapbox now, and go back to normal posts.