Angel and I have been lucky to experience life on a hobby farm for the last year and a bit. It's where we rent a suite and live. Our landlord runs the farm, but the animals have become part of our own daily life and there is always something going on to entertain us. We are pretend farm-hands I guess you could say.
There are chickens here. Lots of chickens. Like maybe a couple hundred. And they are all free range, and chatty, and beggars for scraps. The ones in the small chicken coop closest to the house will come running if you call, "chicken, chicken, chicken," or if they think you have some tasty bread (or maybe a quesadilla!) to throw. They are carb addicts - how they love their bread. Last spring, one of the hens in the large chicken coop (furthest from the house) hid a clutch of eggs in the grazing field. Babies hatched. Mel, our landlord and animal enthusiast extraordinaire, brought mama hen and chicks into the fenced yard around the house to protect them. We got a front-row seat to their growing up and admired what a good mama they had. The young-uns spent the summer chasing bugs, snuggling on our patio doorstep in the sunshine, and pooping. Yes, on the farm there is poop and you just have to deal with it. Wear boots and all is good.
After a summer of growing, the little family got moved into the small coop by the house. There is just a handful of chickens here and maybe this was mama hen's plan all along - getting out of the big, crowded coop and into the smaller, less populated one. Moving on up, so to speak. With chickens close to the house, we tend to have shenanigans and fowl play. Quite often one of the former babies, who grew to be a rooster, will jump the coop fence, strut to the front door of the house, knock very loudly with his beak, and then stand and crow for an unlimited amount of time (or until he gets chased away). He remembers his childhood home apparently. Often we must be careful driving out of the yard because there are chickens...crossing...(you got it)...the...road. Ah yes, and it's just to get to the other side. That, is what I've learned is the answer to the life-long riddle.
The other farm inhabitants are goats. When we first arrived in the winter of 2014, there were 6 goats; one male and 5 females. After two birthing seasons there are now 19 goats and that doesn't count the couple that went to other farms last summer. This is how you go from a few to a lot in a hurry, so take note any future goat keepers. There were also two sheep (a male and female) boarding over this winter and, lo and behold, two lambs were born.
The cuteness factor around here right now cannot even be described. But, I will do my best. Baby goats - or kids - are freaking awesome. While adults goats have their own charm (except when chasing you down as you're bringing them a bowl of kitchen scraps - can you say running and throwing food at the same time?), the babies are soft, little, and just want to be snuggled. Mel is good about socializing the goats with each other and people, so it's a bit of a personal petting zoo. The adult males have to be separated for obvious reasons and they can be obnoxious (sorry guys), but the females and their babes are friendly and fun to be around. Strolling through the pasture (with boots on of course) is great and "everygoat" will come to visit.
Snagging a baby goat can be a challenge - they can be fast and feisty - but they easily snuggle in close for a nap once caught. It's pretty special. The mama goats are usually more concerned about whether you brought snacks or not. They have priorities, you know. Babies tend to come in pairs, though not always, and there were even triplets this year. The mama who gave birth to the threesome was running for scraps (a "waddle-running" kind of thing) up to a few days before delivering. The shaking must have separated their colors because two are black and one is white! When all the babies are napping in a group, siblings will sleep together and any only-kids will just dive in to whichever pile suits them. When it comes to the lambs, they stick close to their mama, who bleats constantly for hay or any other kind of treat. She has to keep up with her hungry babies I suppose. And even though they are shy, the lambs will take a few steps forward to check you out and point their fuzzy ears forward. I mentioned the cuteness factor, yes?
It's been a wonderful experience here on this farm and we've enjoyed sharing it as well. My cousin Lisa brought her own kids by one weekend to take part in baby goatapalooza. And kids, kids, and a couple of lambs got to play together.
As the saying goes, March comes "in like a lion and out like a lamb," but... there are mostly goats and chickens around here.