Pasture Politics

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I am not sure what it is, the cold snap we just had, the shorter days, the full moon, sexual maturity, or life, but I have a lot of opinions out in the pasture right now!

I might even have a lot of opinions in my house right now, but alas, this is about my animals.

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Charlie and Sunny are not siblings, but they were born on the same day in the same pasture, and both had twin brothers. They are super close, comfort each other, eat together, and share scratches from me without too much jealousy. Sunny for sure is the bolder of the two, Charlie definitely follows Sunny’s lead.

This week they have just had it with each other, not all day long, but there seems to be moments of goat rage, and don’t let their long eyelashes and cute mugs fool you, pasture jerks they were.

They’ll be eating peacefully in the pasture, and one or the other will pick her head up and take a running charge at the other one, sending her flying. Then calm, graze, repeat.

Butting each other off of the choza has been another new behavior this week followed by big displays. And again, calm, cuddle, repeat.

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My covey of quail, my cute sweet fairy like birds…

Well actually they are more like miniature Velociraptors than anything, in behavior and facial structure. My hens are so sweet and content, the males on the other hand will scalp or decapitate another quail if they feel the need, and this week has been brutual!

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Just keep in mind we have a large outdoor natural habitat that is enclosed but partially open to the elements this time of year, they have lots of space, but if you want to know what happened to the dinosaurs, well they are in miniature form over in my pasture, they didn’t all go fully extinct!

So to keep the piece and stop the crips & bloods gang wars we had a butchering day for some of the males, and today it was super calm with the little ones. We will see how the rest of the week goes.

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My flock of ducks is now a flock within a flock. Cindy Lou Who? one of my Golden 300 hens, and Alistair our blue Swedish drake, made six gorgeous ducklings this summer. Alistair is so watchful and protective of the Ladies that he has not accepted the ducklings, who are now his size or a bit bigger, into his flock of Ladies. He isn’t mean or physical with them, he just won’t give them the time of day and will move his Ladies to a new place in the pasture if his kids try to crash his party.

The hens are fairly bitchy and will chase the young ones away, the hens have been quite physical with the young ducks actually, and the flapping and quacking during parts of the day, it’s like parliament with a controversial issue!

While they all share similar space in the pasture, there has not been a melding. Out of the six young ducks I have a blue Swedish drake, a black Swedish drake, and four black Swedish hens, the loudest hens on the planet. Two of the hens so far have iridescent feathers and in sun, well they shine with green and purple, they look magical!

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This photo is so telling, Alistair’ tail feathers in the corner, and walking his hens away. The ultimate snub at the mud puddle.

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My dogs have been the most neutral of the bunch, kind of, maybe not, maybe, shit I don’t know now. I have been so busy observing everyone else this week that my dogs just jump in bed with me and cuddle at night, and all is good.

… but we for sure have had a rockier week than normal, Massimo as usual leads the way with this. He has been slightly more reactive, and slightly on edge. I know for a fact he is affected by the lunar cycle, so this isn’t a surprise but it somehow always catches me by surprise.

I’m not going to lie, I love observing my animals, sitting and watching, and can do this for hours. It is fascinating to me to figure out behavior or at least learn more about behavior by observing, closely observing. This week was for sure filled with explosive and dynamic behavior, something causing it with everyone, and I will continue to observe and learn. A little less tension wouldn’t be so bad though.

I love our little farm and all that we have here, and what we can offer our animals, every day that I wake up I am grateful.

Nancy

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