A Quiet Start
I arrived at the shelter at 10am and all was quiet and calm. Beautiful. I found all animals happily foraging and eating. Fudge (goat) was standing on the trampoline and Toffee (Fudges brother) on the stone steps next to it. They looked at me with those sweet innocent faces that make you think ‘Awww, lovely boys’, then you suddenly wonder what naughty things they have been up to and are trying to hide with those faces! I couldn’t see anything they had done, so got straight to work on cleaning the top chicken house.
There Goes The Quiet, Peaceful Start!
All the time I was cleaning out the chicken house, Toffee & Fudge were calling to me through the hedge. I could see Fudge on the trampoline looking through the foliage at me and I talked back to them, thinking they just wanted attention. They certainly got my attention when I suddenly heard a louder bleat behind me and turned around to see Fudge on the hedge!
The naughty boy had stepped through the fence and got up to eat the better foliage higher up. I went to see how he had got through the electric fence and discovered it was not clicking, so the battery must have gone. I decided to leave him eat some good stuff, while I finished off the chicken house. At one point I think I startled Bonnie the goose a bit and she tried to walk away from me too quickly and ended up slipping in the mud, getting her pristine white chest all brown and mucky. Poor bonnie.
John The Saviour
Just as I finished my cleaning job, John arrived and helped fetch Fudge back from the hedge (after I took a couple of photos!). He put some more poles up between the existing ones to hitch the wire on to try and deter them from just walking through, although Toffee didn’t go through because he is a little too fat to fit! ha ha
It may not deter them for long, but hopefully Maria will be able to replace the battery real soon.
What Would We Do Without John!
As the makeshift fence repair was complete, John suddenly saw something out of the corner of his eye and gasped. I turned to see where he was looking and was amused but worried to see Jessie the rabbits babies had escaped from their pen into the next one (Jake & Elwoods) and then out from that pen into the field. They were loose!
We quickly rushed over and two ran back through but we had to coax the last one to go back. I then stayed there while John went to the tool shed and found some more chicken wire. We fixed this over the hole and made it secure.
Meanwhile, some of the babies were being very daring and running up to Jake & Elwood and touching noses with them. Jake & Elwood weren’t bothered in the slightest. We then went into Jake and Elwoods pen and found the hole the babies were squeezing through. John went in their (Jessie and babies) pen and fixed the hole from that side with the sweet little babies running up to see what he was doing. Babies in, holes fixed. What would we do without john?!
We chopped up all the fresh food and began to feed all the animals. We have a little system we try to stick to, to make it easier (sometimes it doesn’t work!). We feed the bottom chickens, geese and ducks and shut Toffee & Fudge away with their food. Then shut the pigs away, which leaves the yard free to feed Charlotte & Ralph (sheep). Marshall (Goat) is shut in his stable and Maisie (goat) shut in the room next door to him, then Molly (sheep) can eat in the goat/sheep yard. This way they don’t fight over food.
We then feed top chickens, goose, ducks and guinea pigs, indoor animals and, finally, the rabbits spending time with them as we go through each of the pens (0-20). After all were fed and let out, the feeding buckets were collected up and washed, ready for the next day. The pigs night time feed was then prepared.
Our Experience During Feeding Time
It was all going to plan until I went through the gate into the goat/sheep yard and Molly ran into Marshalls stable and began eating his food (she beat him to it!), I was holding Maisies food bucket (with medication in) in my other hand while trying to separate Molly from Marshalls food and then Marshall started to eat that! It was a few moments of chaos until John coaxed Molly out with her own bucket.
Then they were all eating what they were supposed to. However, we were a bit baffled as to why Ralph & Charlotte raced like maniacs to their food and then didn’t touch it! Funny creatures. John fed the top lot (chickens, goose, ducks and guinea pigs) then, while I fed the indoor animals. We then fed the rabbits.
Feeding the rabbits is always fun and I couldn’t stop laughing at the sight of Johns surprised face when Polo (a feisty old girl) lunged at his hand when he tried to offer her a piece of bread for a treat. He was shocked! It happened to me the week before when trying to offer banana. Shes a funny rabbit.
We noticed Coco had trashed his hutch again, dragging all of his bedding out and onto the grass. Of course, we spent just a little longer in Jessies pen with her gorgeous babies. John put the fresh food down for Jessie, but the babies ran in and snatched it from under her. Poor girl, we gave her a little extra after babies had finished. All rabbits were looking happy and healthy and were sorted for dry food, fresh food and water. Job done!
I went up to sweep Marshalls path and yard (getting very muddy now) while John touched up on fences and then decided to fill the hay nets first. I tackled the pigs (Blossom & Tammy) to get to the hay and filled the nets, one for the sheep, one for Marshall and one for Maisie (Marshall won’t share a stable with Maisie so we have set up two and they can choose who goes where).
After replacing hay nets, I set about sweeping the yard and path, rinsing it as I went. John came and helped scoop up the horrid sludge and the job was done. I was hot and red faced by then. 10 minutes later, Marshall happily pooped on the lovely clean path and then disappeared up the field!
Another Cleaning Job
Everything done, I suggested we walk the goats (Toffee & Fudge), but then I looked in Mays (goose) house, and decided it was more important to clean that, as it was pretty dirty. I swept out and John disinfected. The straw bedding was replaced and food bowl filled with corn ready for bedtime. We had it done in no time at all.
Time To Walk The Goats
With about 25 minutes before the animals bedtime, we took Toffee & Fudge for a quick walk up the village. They munched their favourites (grass, ivy, brambles, dead leaves and a little holly) and Fudge scratched himself along his favourite walls and fences. Toffee was surprisingly well behaved, only slightly turning to butt John a few times! When we got back towards the shelter gate, Fudge had a mad little run dragging me with him.
Blossom & Tammy (pigs) were at the gate and we didn’t want a fight between goats and pigs to break out, so I held Toffee & Fudge, letting them eat from the hedge, while John fetched the piggy girls food buckets. He shut them in with their evening feed, as it was time for them all to go to bed anyway. We got Toffee & Fudge back in and started putting to bed.
John prepared Buttons the cats food, we heard him meowing but couldn’t see him, and I got the geese (Mays gang) into their house. We both coaxed the sweet little call ducks in with them quacking the whole way (I’m sure they were telling us off). The chickens were all inside already top lot and bottom lot, so the hatch was closed for the bottom chickens and then we coaxed Bonnie the goose and Charlie drake the Muscovy duck in, Bonnie sleeps in duck house and Charlie sleeps in chicken house, and closed the hatches. All were safe and cosy for the night and it was time for us to go home.
Just a typical day for us, thank you for reading and I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Marias days are much busier and hopefully one day she will have time to tell you all about it!