Two weeks ago, my brother and his girlfriend came down from DC and stayed with us on the farm. Jason is the reason I have an SLR camera instead of my old point and shoot, and he recently bought himself a new Nikon that he was eager to use. All of the following pictures are his, taken while we did the morning chores.
First up is breakfast for the pigs. They are just so vocal about wanting to eat, so it makes the rest of the morning more pleasant when the background sound is munching and not squealing.
Then we head over to the piglets, who now live in Barney’s old pen. These kids are ravenous.
With the oinks silenced, I grab a scoop of broiler feed and head down to the turkey tractor. Will processed the last of the broad breasted bronze, so all that’s left in feathered form are the bourbon reds.
The chickens are nearby, so I top up the feed inside their coop and toss some scatch for them to, well, scratch. For you non-farmer types, scratch is just a bunch of whole grains, like corn, field peas and barley, that the chickens rather enjoy scratching up in the pasture. Not only is it good for the birds, it’s great for the pasture as they act like mini aerators. Go chickens, go!
In the process of feeding the chickens, I try not to get attcked by our rooster. We had his talons cut off, so one of his sideways ninja kicks would do substantially less damage to my legs than in the past. However, I think he may relieze he’s been disarmed, as I haven’t been flown at since… even if he does follow me around the yard trying to puff up into his biggest, most intimidating rooster self. As Alston says, “that rooster is not a nice guy.”
Now that the grass is no more, I head over to the shed and grab a third of a bale of hay for the sheep. Because of the crazy weather this summer (July was baking hot, August just rained and rained), the hay we have was salted so as to make it cure faster (so it could be baled up before the rain). The ewes are devouring their seasoned hay and drinking way more water than they normally do, but everyone appears happy and healthy.
With the giant rubber tub for the sheep and the 35 and 55 gallon tanks for the pigs, we only need to water them about once a week. On Fridays, Will is kind enough to top up the water for the chickens and turkeys, so I usually don’t have to water them on the weekends either. However, the rabbits need water at least every other day, so I save that chore for the end. I open up their new house, collect all their bottles and bring them into the house for filling. Everyone’s feeder gets filled with alfalfa pellets after the waterers are replaced.
These days, I do the ducks last as we are no longer locking them up at night. This wasn’t so much an intentional change as my forgetting to lock them up three nights in a row back in September, and then they started hanging out in the pond at the time I’d normally chase them inside. And while I do like our ducks, I don’t like them so much that I’m about to wade into the water at 10 PM to chase them ashore. We’ve lost one duck in the past two months of laise faire water fowl ownership, leaving us with two rouens and a khaki campbell. At some point I’ll get them back in the habit. Maybe.
But back to breakfast – last but not least I head down to the duckhouse to collect the one egg we’re getting and fill their trough with grain. The whole morning routine takes between thirty minutes to an hour, depending on the state of everyone’s water. And since it’s no longer buggy or humid, but not yet fridgid, late fall is a wonderful time for morning chores.