Night chores…

                             A view of the gloaming as it approaches through the alpaca boy’s window.

I enjoyed the evening chores as the wind was brisk and stiff from the north. It was exhilarating to feel the cool breeze. I took extra time to sit around and admire the antics of the chickens as they began to come in for the night. It always amazes me that they roost in the same spots every night; however, only after having a certain amount of discussion as to where each hen should be located. They all know where they belong in the barn.

Cochin was standing guard at the ewe’s door while watching the hens outside. He doesn’t have to call them or run them in they seem to know he’s waiting for them to get their act together.Then when the hens have come in to their favorite spots he will slide under the gate to inspect whatever feed is left for dinner. Later he’ll jump up on one of the feed cans and scoot over to the top of the barrier. He’ll settle there after what seems like an extensive inspection of the spot. It isn’t like he hasn’t been there before because he settles there every night. But it bears inspection every night, too. I image by now Snaggle has left her place on the ladder and is cuddling under Cochin’s wing for some warmth. He doesn’t seem to mind if one hen or another is trying to cuddle under him, but it certainly takes a bit of adjusting to make sure that it fits just right. It was a sight to observe as I sat on the feed can.

At this point all of the animals are busily scarfing down whatever is available whether it is hay, grain or a drink. I watched the rams as they pushed each other around to make sure that they have gotten every last bit of grain. It seems like they are being brutes; however, they have enough wool on them now that it is much like bumper cars as they push and shove each other around. Maggie has had her grain, apple and treats. She’s not interested in much of anything else but getting her hay out of the rack. She’s good at watching the rams in their struggles, but isn’t interested in interfering in their antics. Although she does notice what the alpaca boys are doing from time to time.

The alpaca boys are always in a battle of spitting. They spit their grain at each other at every feeding. I am not sure why they are involved in this activity as it doesn’t net any more food in their tummies. In fact it doesn’t make any sense at all except to them. Bo has a habit of deliberately spitting at Maggie; therefore, she has learned to turn herself around to the hay rack. There’s always some spitting between the three of them and I can observe their activities from the feed can as they prance back and forth asserting their authority over each other. The alpaca girls, on the other hand, aren’t interested in the spitting contests at the other end of the building.

Bonita, Beauty and Bella are interested in eating. It is plain and simple. The food is presented and it is time to eat. There’s no spitting or discussions, eating is the activity that consumes their attention. As I glanced from one area to another I realized that quiet had overtaken the previous noises. The fans were off and the only other noise was the radio playing oldies lowly. Once in awhile I could hear the geese at the fence talking together.

The ganders had come into the barn through their penned area for dinner and then after I tossed a few pieces of corn to them outside they watched the goslings go in their house to be fed. Later they were all together at the fence discussing what they had had for dinner. Tonight is going to be in the high 30’s and I suspect that they will be lined up on the appropriate sides of the fencing together.

I did look it up online about when they could be put together and it seems that since both sexes are getting along all right I am going to put them together around the first of October. I think that will give me enough time to make sure that things go all right. In addition, I’m pretty sure that the boys are more than ready to climb the fence.

I ran through all of the things that are included in doing the nightly chores and decided that I had accomplished everything sufficiently. However, I lingered a bit longer. The cool air felt good. I watched some small birds as they landed and took off near the tall weeds outside the fencing. I suppose that they are busy gathering what they need to fly off to a warmer clime. It was peaceful.

I opened the gate to the alpaca girls and patted each one before mounting the stairs to the loft. As I got to the top step I noted that the little chicks were lined up on the other side of the door. I pulled it open to find that they were waiting patiently. I had given them grain, but needed to fill their water up for the night. So I grabbed the bucket and came in to get the water. They followed me to the door. I knew on the other side of that door were two kittens. So, I pushed the door a bit to find that there were Max and Sarah who eagerly wanted to see what makes all of that noise. Unfortunately for them I swatted them back inside.

While the water filled the bucket I turned off the outside faucet and shut up the truck and car. Then I took water to the chicks. In a few minutes after they had their drinks they began to find a place for sleep. I sat on a bale of hay to watch as one by one they chattered at each other and then settled. I did turn on a light in case any of them decide that the night is too cool; but I think they are feathered out enough that they will be fine. I said adieu as my dinner awaited. The gloaming had settled, too. It is becoming darker sooner and all of the animals are adjusting their clocks, too.
And so it goes…
Copyright © 2011

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