We’ll start with the “critters go” category. The hyper-aggressive rooster I dubbed The Rapper Rooster is gone. We had mixed feelings about The Rapper. He was a mean little raptor, and consequently the girls were afraid to collect eggs from the hen house unless someone else stood guard. He and Chareva had a few run-ins that ended with her chasing him around the yard and whacking the @#$% out of him.
On the other hand, he took his role as Protector of the Flock seriously. Last Friday night we arrived home around 10:30 PM and heard him out in the chicken yard, strutting around and trash talkin’ and generally threatening to kick someone’s ass. He only did that after dark if a predator was nearby, so I grabbed a high-beam flashlight and went to take a look. I hadn’t gotten far when I heard something fairly large run away and crash into the heavy brush – probably a coyote. So The Rapper had done his job, and Chareva and I figured on balance, he was probably worth keeping.
Moot point now. Chareva found him (or so she claims) on his back in the chicken yard a couple of days ago, legs in the air, not moving. Given their history, she immediately produced an alibi for the approximate time of death, but also refuses to take a polygraph. There were no visible wounds on him, so whatever killed him, it probably wasn’t another animal.
The chickens Sara is raising as part of a 4-H project are coming along nicely, getting bigger by the day. Chareva built a new fence outside their coop so they can wander around in the grass during the day and eat bugs. You can’t really see it in the picture, but there’s a net over their area so we don’t end up serving a chicken dinner to the hawks that always seem to be on reconnaissance missions overheard.
Sara’s newest 4-H project is raising two goats. Chareva and Sara drove to the county agriculture center yesterday to pick them up. They’re both males, and Chareva was convinced they’d pee with the force of a firehose all over the back the van, so she spread a big tarp in back and took along a cage with cat litter covering the floor. Fortunately, the goats didn’t react as predicted.
The previous owner of our little farm already had a partially-destroyed goat pen behind the house, so we fixed it up last week and added a new gate. Chareva constructed the hoop house you see in the picture to provide some shelter.
Alana doesn’t normally wear a bathrobe for farm work. She’d just returned from a last-day-of-school party that included swimming in a local river. When Chareva and Sara arrived home with the goats, she was too excited to change clothes before running outside.
This is Sara’s project, so she was determined to shepherd the goats into their pen. The goats didn’t want to leave the van, and I wondered if Sara would be too intimidated to do anything about it … but nope, she took the first goat by the horns and persuaded him to move.
The second goat either wanted to join his buddy or didn’t want to be similarly manhandled by a 10-year-old girl. He decided to hop out on his own.
The goats ran around exploring their pen, then began munching the foliage. As you can see, they’ll have plenty to eat for awhile.