First, I wish everyone would stop and say a prayer or just remember all those who lost loved ones in the spring storms this weekend and early this week in the Southeast. What a terrible spring they have had! Today we are in between storms here in Kansas, with some passed on to the east, and others coming our way in waves for the balance of the week and Easter weekend.
I am off on a vacation day today, so took the liberty of watching what was going on outside, and have been in and out all morning. I moved the seven bigger 9 week old chicks out to the 4 x 4 pen for the afternoon. It is still chilly, but they can get in the straw-bedded cat carrier if they are too cold, and they have food and drink. They have been out there an hour now, and it took that hour for them to come out!
You notice there is poultry wire over the chain link.
This pen is in the big henyard, and is known as "Butch's Pen", because I used to put Butch in here to get fresh air.
Once the new henhouse is finished, Butch and his three lovely ladies will be moving to it, and their sojourn in the feed room will end (so I can clean it UP!).
We waste enormous amounts of feed. I just cleaned out most of the tank that the big chicks were in, and the feed in there was dirty and poop-ridden. They had pushed it out of their feeder onto the floor. In the new henhouse, the feeder will be hung from the rafters so everyone has to work for their feed. No more bowls on the floor!
The bedding of the little henhouse is feed and dust... this is partially my fault, because in winter I sometimes just throw it in and run, but also because I am feeding in fortexes instead of feeders. Like I said, that will all change. We are composting the dirty feed.
As I sat at the computer earlier, I saw the llamas run by fast.
Then I went out, and saw Tony like this down the pasture:
And Inca up on the barn pad like this:
Aztec right at her side.
Here is what they were watching:
Our neighbors had just put four cows out on the five acres just to the north of us. Just to the right of the cows is a tiny black dot... I thought this was their lab. It was, instead, I think, a calf. There was something wrong with it... it had an odd gait, and had to almost run to keep up with the cows as they moved away from the gate. The llamas watched them for a long time, and in fact, Tony is laying out on the barn pad, the highest spot, right now, watching to the north, the east and the south.
Notice how they protect Aztec:
Llamas are wonderful guardians.
Meanwhile, in the big henhouse, this was happening:
Looks innocent, doesn't she?
Birdy, named that because Helen, our turkey hen hatched chicken eggs along with her poults, and raised two survivors of a snake attack, named the Birdbrain Twins. She is the last daughter of our Buff Orpington Rambo, out of one of the Wyandottes, I'm sure. She is also an egg eater, and has taught Ruby, one of the other old hens, to eat them, too. These two are not moving to the new henhouse. She has always been a flighty bird, and you would think she never saw me before every day.
I have seen some great videos on blogs lately... I love cows, so love to read about them. One of the blogs I follow,
Animal Instinct, had a great video of a herd of cattle being let out of their winter barn in England, onto the green pastures for the first time. The dairy farmer explained in the video that they were fed ensilage first, to keep them from overeating on the green grass. To see those matronly cows kick up their heels in delight was really something! And to see the beautiful Simmental cows featured on the Animal Instinct blog is something too!
Copy that and you will see them, too!
And on a more serious note, Sandy, our newest follower from Yellow Knife Farm, posted a video on her website last week that every one should watch once. It is graphic, but not too. It was made by a reporter, Lisa de Guia, (I found out after some research) about a custom butcher, Larry Althiser, at Larry's Custom Meats in
Hartwick, New York. This man welcomed the reporter into his shop, where he calmly explains the entire process, from the entry of the animal - a steer, a sheep, and a hog are shown - how they are put down, how they are skinned, etc., and their carcasses cut up. Yes, there is some blood in it. You also see (and it is explained) that in that shop, they do as much as they can to avoid fear in the animal. It is plain to see that the animals are curious, not scared to death, before their lives are ended decently. There are three young men working with Mr. Althiser, and they work quickly and sparely to get the carcasses hung and cleaned. The butcher himself is proud of his shop, and should be. I wish every end of life experience for the animals we raise could be as good.
Here is a link to this video, and it is worth the watching.
It is almost midafternoon on a beautiful spring day, so I am going to go outside and do the watering, to save myself time for later.
I hope everyone has a wonderful evening!