Will is laid up with what may very well be the flu. He thinks it just a cold, but he’s ache-y, and while Alston and I are sniffley, we also got flu shots unlike a certain husband of mine. Which is to say, I got to do all the animal chores today. None of which could have been accomplished if not for the aid of Wallace and Grommet to keep the toddler entertained.
First up is letting the ducks out of their house. We used to race out to do this first thing when we woke up, but now that we’re getting eggs we let them stay in until 8ish to be sure they actually lay in their house. This morning I collected three. Exciting!
Next up I fed the pigs, who came out from the relative warmth of their house when they heard the ducks. Our gilts get rather overly excited at the prospect of food, and they nearly knocked me over as I headed through their yard, bucket in hand. In sheer anticipation, they stick their faces right over their feed trough so I have to sprint back to the other not-blocked-by-anxious-snouts trough, dump in half the food and when they rush after breakfast I head back to the first trough and deposit the rest of their grain. Otherwise, it all ends up on their faces.
Then comes the chickens, which is just a matter of letting them out and topping up their food at this point. Finally, I added some more grain for the sheep, as their hay was half full. Not too bad.
Oh wait, I have to water everyone, too? And it’s 20 degrees outside? Luckily it turns out this isn’t as bad as I expected. The tap outside is frozen so I filled a 5 gallon bucket using the wash sink in the basement and schlep it out to the pigs. They appeared disappointed that it wasn’t more food.
I then broke a hole in the ice of the pond and the ducks came a runnin’. I must say, they are not graceful ice skaters, although the geese are even worse. They are heavy enough to occasionally plunge a leg through, creating their own watering hole. The gaggle ended up taking a morning swim up the creek, where the current keeps things a bit less frozen.
Another bucket, this time of warm water, was then dragged to the chickens to unfreeze their waterers, after kicking them enough to knock the ice out of the plastic bottoms. The last gallon of warm water helped me break up the ice on the sheep’s tub, and Scout helped herself to a drink despite my stabbing at the ice with a screw driver.
All in, it took maybe 45 minutes, but I wasn’t rushing by any means. Since I only get to see the animals on weekends given the shortened daylight of winter, it was restoring to actually contribute to the farm beyond my paycheck. I can see why Will loves it.