Of course there is always something that needs doing, especially now that we have started planning for those chickens we had always intended to have. A farm is a constant source of planning, chores, changes and occasionally the unexpected. We had noticed, while putting our boys in for the night, that a very small grey cat had taken up residence in the barn. Although he didn't ever come near us, he was not afraid of us either. His tiny little body, covered in the most beautiful gray fur earned him the name Smokey and he seemed perfectly content to sit on the other side of the railing and watch us go through our nightly routine. That is until Friday the 13th. I had gone ahead and started the evening chores before Andy got home. Everything was going according to the usual routine until I went to get our boys their hay for their dinner. It wasn't until I went through the gate into the other half of the barn and reached down to grab the hay, that I noticed a dark patch laying there.....and it moved. I quickly backed away, turned on the light and discovered that the dark patch was actually four of the cutest little kittens nestled into the hay. Hmmm....turns out Smokey is a girl!
|Our Unexpected Additions|
Where Smokey had been hiding these four little cuties in that tiny little frame of hers is beyond either of us. But there they were and she is a wonderful momma. She has since moved them into our hay storage after some nosey racoons got a little too close to the barn for her liking. The new little family is doing well.
We are lucky enough to have a farm sales / auction barn about 10 minutes from our little chunk of Heaven. So Saturday morning, bright and early, off we went to 'just look' to see what chickens they had available. Now we are not usually impulsive shoppers, especially Andy, but we know a good deal when we see one. So by 10am Saturday morning, 'just looking' had turned into four laying hens sitting in the back of my SUV and the rush was on to get the last bit of construction done on the coop. In a matter of 24 hours, two house cats and six alpacas had turned into two house cats, six alpacas, one barn cat, four new kittens and four chickens.
|Wilma & Betty|
Now, being new to this whole alpaca farming life, we knew that there would be an adjustment period while everyone met, figured out their pecking orders (haha) and got to know each other. Our chicken coop may not be the prettiest one around but we are very proud to say it is made almost entirely from recycled or reused materials and the four girls seem to like it just fine. It has been a week since they arrived and we still haven't seen an egg except for the trip to the grocery store but, we have been told that it is quite normal for laying hens to take up to two weeks to settle in and start laying so we are still confident!
As for our boys adjusting to their new neighbours....well.....they are curious if nothing else....
|I'm Wellington, what's your name??|
And although they have spent a lot of time around the chicken coop checking things out, they have not done anything to upset the chickens and have managed to keep their wrestling confined to the other side of the paddock.
|Make you a deal..you don't eat our grass and we will try not to spit on you.|
Fingers crossed, we should have farm fresh eggs for breakfast very soon.