Living on a farm has its share disappointments … but the unexpected joys often greatly outweigh them. As we prepare for Fall, I wanted to share two happy follow-ups to stories detailed earlier this year.
First, remember the chicks that our Barred Rock mother hen hatched out in a dark corner of the barn? Of the eight original hatchlings, only one died along the way. We gave one to a friend, leaving six. When mother hen first let the chicks spread their wings and go their own way, I was admittedly a bit nervous. The chicks didn’t seem to have a clue as to what they should do without her leadership. I found myself going out to check on them several times a day, just to make sure they hadn’t done something stupid.
Happily, twelve weeks after hatching, all six have survived and are now large juveniles. They’ve continued to be a distinct community within our larger flock, roosting together on the fence that separates the kidding pen from the rest of the goats. Interestingly, it was the same pen in which their mother hatched them. It’ll be interesting to see how much longer they stick together; even during the day, they never tend to be far from each other as they forage across the property. Perhaps thanks to the upbringing their mother gave them, they seem to range much more widely and proactively than the other chickens. Here they were this morning (the sixth one is just out of the picture):
But, by far, the biggest and happiest success story is Puddles the Goat Kid. Rejected by her mother and nearly dead when we found her in the barn during a storm in March, longtime blog readers will recall how we revived her, bottle-fed her back to life, and then transitioned her to House Goat and finally Barn Goat. Well, Puddles is now a strong and healthy six-and-a-half month old member of the herd:
But she hasn’t forgotten her beginnings. Whenever I call her name, she immediately responds by standing up, nickering in a particular way, and running to greet me. She’s not the kind of annoying pet goat that follows humans everywhere. She’s definitely bonded with the other goats, and knows she’s a goat. But she also knows she’s the one and only … Puddles!