Monday, March 25, 2013

Hay for Mildred

Husband cleared a bit of snow so he could drop a round bale into the chicken pen this weekend.  Now Mildred gets to go outside and munch, and chat over the fence with the rest of the critters.  Well, after she stopped trying to swim through the snow to explore the entire pen. 
Toothless and Mindy were quick to come and say hello.  Or maybe to ask who the heck the 'royalty' was who got her own bale of hay!  Sharlotte tried to visit, but Mindy chased her off.
Toothless was very friendly.  They rubbed noses through the fence.
Shiloh came to visit, bringing Tori and Knightmare along with her.  Shiloh is the self appointed welcoming committee around here.  They shared some hay with their long necks reaching over the fence.
Mildred mooed and mooed, calling to Dorie, we think.  Our herd matron will NOT EVEN LOOK AT MILDRED!  #1 thinks she's jealous.  I think she's stuck up.
After Mildred went to bed the first day, as we were getting ready to milk, Mindy decided she just had to have some of that hay.  You know the old adage, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence...  Well, miss Mindy got herself STUCK on the fence.  The snow is deep enough that she could balance halfway with her back legs on one side and her front legs on the other.  On the pasture side where they've got it all packed down good- no problem.  But then she sank through on the chicken pen side, leaving herself in a bit of a predicament.  Luckily for her she was able to roll off onto the pasture side.

#3 got to help #1 with the milking while Husband and I cut some small poplars and put up a new top rail.  The fence is still sagging under the poplars, but there's not much we can do about that until spring.

Hopefully everyone will stay where they belong until then.


  1. Wendy,
    It's too bad you could not have gotten a video or at least a picture of Mindy stuck on the fence and then rolling off it--hilarious. Do the chickens like the hay, too? Why do you put hay for the cows in the chicken pen?

    1. I was rather worried and distraught at the time. The top line was barbed wire, so there was a very real possibility that she would hurt herself. I'm just glad she rolled and freed herself before I got there!

      The barn in the pasture has a half cement floor, half dirt floor. It had one stall and hydro when we bought the farm, no insulation, holes cut out for windows. The draft horses we used to have would knock or scratch their heads on the light sockets, breaking lightbulbs and shorting out the hydro. We disconnected it. We built more stalls out of logs, but they were also knocked out by the drafts. On our list of things to do someday, is to cement the other half of the barn floor, cementing in the posts, and building proper stalls. At the moment it's left open as a dry shed for the critters.

      The 'chicken coop' is a smaller barn, with insulation, hydro, cement floor, drainage tunnel, real windows. It has one large stall sized room- the milk room, which we believe the previous owner used for raising veal. One end is walled off into two smaller rooms for the chickens, and formerly, rabbits. The chicken coop is built into the fence line, so the critter door opens into the pasture and the man door opens into the yard. We fenced off the yard side for the chicken pen.

      We're keeping Mildred and the calf in the milk room. The goats are sleeping there as well, since this is where they'll be kidding. After morning milking, we let them out through the man door into the chicken pen. The goats hop the fence and go about their business. Mildred and the calf stay in the chicken yard.

      Once the snow melts in the yard and we replace a couple of broken posts, they'll have the side yard to themselves to graze.

      The family milk cow is kept separate from the herd because she is 'royalty'. No one else is getting buckets full of grain, our undivided attention twice a day, brushing, petting, loving- the way she does. No one else is working as hard as her either.

    2. If I had layers and nonlayers amongst the hens, I would certainly want the layers to have the best of the food and resent giving prime food to hangers on.

      I should mark your response so that when I get confused I can go reread!