Why Talking to Farm Animals isn’t as mad as it sounds.
I wrote a few weeks ago about some of the ongoing summer jobs here on the farm. However time waits for no farmer and as fast as we keep on top of one job another is calling for our attention. Some ventures are planned and others just present themselves and need sorting. It is essential to stay alert and we maintain daily checks, including talking to our farm animals, so they are familiar with us and we can pick up on any difficulties they are facing.
A drought for the Pigs
The pig’s water feeder became blocked as the water level had fallen and their feeder was filling with sediment. The immediate priority was to restore their water supply. Cue the Coombe Mill fire engine.
Farmer Nick feared the problem would simply return after the very dry May and embarked on whole new water system collecting rain water from his shed into a super sized water butt across the path by the pigs. He and our eldest son Ally carefully put the DIY system into place just in time for the June rain! At least when the July heat wave came along there was no shortage of water stored up.
A goat for all seasons
The prolonged months of rain can be disastrous for the goats, donkeys and alpacas supporting porous coats which are inadequate for wet climates. Sadly we lost our lovely Billy goat to pneumonia in the depths of last winter, though he did leave us the adorable Queenie, our spring kid. We had been on the lookout for a replacement Billy for the nanny goats this autumn and Nick spotted just the lad online and wasted no time in agreeing a price and collecting him. He is definitely all man smelling suitably goatie and looked to be settling in just fine.
However after a few weeks we noticed that Billy was destroying his field shelter in protest at something. Psychologist Nick diagnosed boredom and let him go in with our “naughty goats”. These are the ones separated from the other pigmy goats for being too pushy with the little children. Two of them are castrated boys and one is Queenie’s Mum. There is an outside chance now of a winter birth so we will have to keep a careful watch.
Speaking of castrated goats, little Rocky had to be taken to the vets to finish the castration job that alluded Nick last year. With one testicle still intact he may have been fertile, could have had ended up worse for wear fighting with the new Billy and would have lost his current hand reared charm to the guests. Reluctantly I let him go to the vet with Nick. He looked rather sorry for himself returning but was soon back on form skipping round the field with his friends.
From Chicks to Ducklings
Our Rooster had gone off the boil and our incubated eggs turned out to be duds. Nick drove off to the local fowl auction to see if he could buy some fertile eggs or day old chickens. The prices shot way above our budget but all was not lost. He returned with 6 dear little runner ducklings which were just days old. They are quite adorable and a favourite with the guests who love to give them squeezey cuddles before scattering their food in the mornings.
When they are older they will join the other chickens, ducks, wallaby and hand raised farm animals in Jurassic park, but until then they have their own safe pen.
The alpaca were the last on the farm to be shorn. It was right in the middle of the Cornish heat wave last week when we finally tracked down our elusive shearer, and not a moment too soon. More on this to follow.
If you are planning a farm visit there is always something fun happening with our farm animals and by the end of the week you’ll be surprised how attached you may become to individual characters.
We check cars for stow away animals before you leave!
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares life on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. Step into our beautiful 30 acres and experience nature close up with farming and educational crafts in stunning North Cornwall. Family, fun and adventure start here.