At Home in Nature

  (Agate, Colorado)
TwoInTents Blog
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Ready for a bath?

The ducks and geese just don't know what to do with ice. They want a bath and try to dive into their frozen pond, but for whatever reason these days, the water is as hard as ice.  We dump out the ice and pour in water, and they enjoy it a lot.  But if they take a break from splashing, it freezes up again. 

Bathing and splashing keeps our birds healthy: it allows them to clean their bodies and their mouths and noses, and large quantities of water ensure that they stay healthy with adequate water in their diet.  Healthy birds are more productive birds, they are happier birds and produce with higher quality. 

We wash our other animals periodically too: our cows, horses and camelids get a bath every month.  Our goats get a brush down or a bath then too, but the goats are our cleanest animals.  They are also our most hardy.  Cleanliness makes animals stronger.  That's why we also clean out pens every week.  While some farms simply pile up manure in a corner, we take it out for composting, either in the ground in the gardens, or in compost bins for aging.  This is better for the gardens and better for the animals (and the reason why we put our gardens so close to the animal pens - we don't have to carry manure so far!). 

In the wild, ducks and chickens would be eating not only vegetable matter and seeds, but plenty of bugs.  We have very few bugs in the summer because we have so little manure hanging about.  What few bugs there are usually get eaten by the ducks and chickens who, though they are free to roam, like to hang out in the pens where they stand the best chance at getting the odd fly or mosquito.  Sometimes a duck will chase a fly dozens of feet (and usually will catch it).  In the wild, most animals don't have a need to bathe, but ducks and geese and other water birds do.  And cattle and horses do when they are kept in a pen.  It's important to keep in mind the needs of animals to make sure they are healthy, happy and productive.

 
 

Truck got stuck in the snow today

Truck the rooster got stuck in a snowdrift while out on an adventure today. He wanted to get to the other side, walked right in until he was stuck up to his belly. We went to rescue him, but before we could some persistent flapping got him free and he managed to fly to the other side. Just goes to show that sometimes we are truly stuck, other times we have to simply try harder.

 
 

Say hi to Truck

We let our birds wander freely on our farm, but most of them decide to stay at home in the pen. Truck likes the pen a lot, but also likes his daily walks.

When you visit our farm, you'll be greeted by Truck the rooster. If you're a dog, kitty, coyote or a fox, he won't be polite. Truck also doesn't like vandals, as he literally slashed the pants off of one who tried to burgle us last year. Good rooster. But if you're a nice person or one of the other animals around here, he's very courteous and will escort you everywhere. He doesn't sing much, and is a bit of a loner, but makes sure to visit everyone on the farm during the day. He especially likes laundry time, and will watch the clothes dry in the wind with attention. But he likes meal time better.

 
 

Dracula's blood thirsty days are done

Count Dracula the calf has decided halloween is over.  He and Pink Nose the Calf are now very good friends with Butterball the Alpaca, who has helped him work through his numerous "issues" apparently.  Butterball himself used to have a lot of aggression, but now is very polite and friendly.  We can remember so many examples!  Pairing animals with other species sometimes helps them kick odd habits, become more productive, reduces disease, and in so many ways improves their quality of life and economics. 
 
Dracula's blood thirsty days are done.  Alpacas are excellent buddies.
 
 

Butterball the alpaca no longer a turkey

Butterball is our newest alpaca friend here at the farm. He was a turkey, though, and had a lot of fight in him. We try to make fighters into lovers here at the farm, and the same way that you would help a human child with too much fight is the same way you help animals best. Interspecies love. A human child would react well to a puppy, or a kitten, or even a chicken or a goose. Or a cow. Or most other species. Some nature time, with the numerous birds and bugs. Most animals are the same way.

Louie the alpaca is now best friends with Wild Thing the goat, and Wild Thing (who was quite wild, and not afraid to gore a human from past mistreatment - though not so angry at other animals) and Louie tamed each other. Now they are even friendly to people. Butterball is becoming a horse lover, and he and our gelding are getting along swimmingly now, after just a couple of days! Butterball is totally changed, and will come up to people and even be caught.

Those with even more fight than Butterball need some hands on training with people. Mental challenge helps the animals, too, and learing how to come, stay, go back, turn left or right not only keeps them better behaved, but makes them very easy to care for. And, should our animals ever get out, they are quick to go back home. Roundups are no challenge here at the ranch, and they shouldn't be: say "go home!" and all the animals do.

A little love leads to more love, and more love leads to universal love. A little training and intelligence leads to greater understanding and peace. In both people and animals.

 
 

Pumpkins are thoughtful and whistful foods

We are still going through halloween pumpkins, and the birds and goats share them well.  The birds like the seeds and goop best, and the goats like the rinds best.  Nobody likes the stems.  When we were working our ox, Macaucau, he was sorely tempted by the pumpkin storage area when he caught a glimpse of what was inside.  But he kept working, good ox.  Tom and Izzy just stare at the pumpkin storage area almost all day, making thoughtful and whistful noises.  We have in the past given them more, but they are actually very full.  Just thoughtful and whistful.
 
 
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