Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What's Happenin' - 3/8/11

Forgive me if I ramble a bit here and jump topics. I am both sleep deprived and massively over-caffeinated which results in herky-jerky thinking. I've also been wiping chicken butts all morning which is maybe not the finest way to start your day. Anyway, I'm a goofy, babbling dork and I know it. :p

The new chicks arrived yesterday, and all but one survived the journey and transition. We lost a little silver-laced Polish pullet, Mrs. Floopy, due to a bad case of pasted butt which rendered her too weak to stand, eat or drink. I kept her close to my skin and tried to feed her sugar water, drop by drop, but she didn't seem to have the knack of swallowing. Poor baby. The hatchery was kind enough to refund me for her, but now we're down to just one silver laced Polish, darn it, and I really wanted a pair.

A few of the other babies' tushies got a bit pasted overnight, but I gave them my standard treatment of a warm water wash-up, followed by a drop of olive oil rubbed into the feathers around the bum-bum to help prevent further sticking or build up. Oh the glamor! ;)

We've made some adjustments recently with the kids and their critter patrol duties. Up until a week ago, I'd had them doing critter chores both morning and night. Nothing major, just feeding and watering everybody and turning the chickens out. But I started to notice an increase in the amount of stress in the girls, building and occasionally interfering with school and sleep, so I relieved them both of critter patrol duties for a week and took them on myself. I lost 5 pounds doing what they used to do every day, so I know that I made the right call for them and for me. We're trying to strike a delicate balance between home life, school, extra curricular activities and educational opportunities/teachable moments without over scheduling them and slurping up all of their free time. It's a struggle, but we're working through it. Anyway, the girls have resumed their evening critter patrols, which is a significantly lighter duty than morning patrols, and does not have the added stress of trying to get everything done in time to catch the bus. So far so good. Unfortunately for me and my gigantic lazy-streak, this also means that I am on morning critter patrol for the foreseeable future. Have I ever mentioned how much of a morning person I am not? ;)

The hens are enjoying the increase in sunlight, filtered through the grey clouds though it be, and giving us about 2 eggs per day now. Gracie has yet to lay at all. I hope she steps up soon because we have lots of folks who'd like to buy our eggs and can't meet the demand. Hopefully our babies will be laying by the end of summer/beginning of fall and we'll be overwhelmed with eggs.

The goats are all looking pretty good, except for young Mr. Blackjack. He's got a very snotty nose, which I have not seen before, so I'll need to scour my books and the interwebs to see what it is he might have, and go about treating him for it. I had really wanted our farm and all of its critters to be 100% organic, antibiotic free, etc., etc., but when this baby, or any of my other critters need intervention to live a happy and whole life, who am I to deny them that? I wouldn't hesitate to give my children antibiotics if I knew they needed it. It pretty much follows my philosophy about vaccinations. I don't love the idea of shooting mostly dead bacteria/viruses and lord knows what kind of chemicals into my little ones, but having seen some suffer and die from something horrific and preventable, like Bird Pox, I begrudgingly give in and vaccinate everybody.

That being said, I am very much against the non-organic standard procedure of feeding or otherwise administering antibiotics, hormones and stimulants routinely. It's a very short-sighted "solution" that will eventually have some pretty dire results for the critters that are being treated (and who's bugs are building immunity against one antibiotic after another) and for the people consuming those animals.

I'm going to do the best that I can by the animals and humans that are in my care. I'll keep on feeding them the best food that I can find, tend to their illness and injuries, provide them with a safe place to lay their heads and stay warm, and shower them with love and snuggles and hope for the best. I feel the weight of each of these lives on my back, but I also feel a joyfulness and depth of love in excess of anything else I have ever known. As much as I whine and as hard as this life we've chosen can be, I am thankful for it every day.

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