The Best Kind Of Farm Surprise!
*peep peep peep peep*
Your existence makes the world a better place. We’re so glad you're here.
- Mama Butterball and her new chick
Here’s What’s Happening At Good Spirits Farm
Last Saturday, Chris heard peeping coming from under our tractor. One of our hens had hidden under the mower deck for three weeks and was hatching eggs! Two eggs hatched in the first 48 hours but then a third egg hatched on day four. Mama hen decided that latecomer couldn’t be her baby, and kicked it out of the nest. I tried tucking it back in, but she wasn’t having it. So, I picked up the chick, got it dried off, and warmed it up under a special heat plate. I waited until after dark and then carefully slipped the chick under Miss Butterball, who has been trying to hatch a pile of shavings for about two weeks now. Miss Butterball was so happy in the morning to look underneath her and see her shavings hatched!
I was doing my final rounds of putting all the critters to bed one night last week when I heard the most terrifying sound for a shepherd: An entire family of coyotes howling together, and so close they were definitely on our farm. Our goal is always to coexist with nature, so we will not do anything to harm coyotes unless they become a chronic problem. So far, by building in areas for other prey—like rabbits—to thrive, we haven’t had an issue with predation. However, mamas teaching babies to hunt is often when many farmers start seeing losses from coyotes. We’ve both been on edge this week, and we’re trying to check our stock more frequently and make a lot of noise when we do so. Here’s hoping the coyotes find other, easier things to eat than our chickens or sheep.
The flerd is all together, and not a moment too soon! One advantage of putting your sheep and cows together is that cows can offer some level of preditor protection. Yes, cows are still prey animals, but they will kick and stomp at dogs—and Stevie Steer has very large horns that could do some real damage. My hope is that just having them near the sheep will make the sheep a less appealing target. (That’s Gimlet on the left in this photo. Isn’t she huge???)
Here’s What I Loved This Week
Having the help of Chris on the farm—even though having a farm really is MY dream. We’re expecting Chris to be called out to help with the wildfires out west in the next few days. Thinking about managing everything solo for a few weeks makes me so grateful for his help while he’s here.