It’s nearly Spring and the year is disappearing without me noticing things, so here’s a quick list:
– Fluffy the chicken has disappeared. She’s missed two nights now. I’m still hoping she’ll come back, but it’s possible she’s been killed by a fox or a feral cat or a tick. She was healthy the last time I saw her, so I don’t think she was ill. Yesterday I walked up and down all the coffee tree rows, hoping to either find her or spot some sign of what might have happened (feathers strewn about, for example), but there was nothing.
– The chickens got into the habit of staying out all day because:
(a) I house-sat my sister’s place at the beach for three weeks which involved walking their dog twice a day, the afternoon walk needing to happen just when I would have had to go back to the farm to let the chickens out of their day pens so they could get a walk themselves, so instead I just let the chickens stay out all day. (I had been hoping to teach the dog to travel by car so I could walk him on the farm instead, but he gets car sick and couldn’t adjust in the time we had available.)
(b) And the neighbours (next to the farm) now keep their chickens penned in most of the time, so there was less chance of mishap when my chooks are wandering around (the neighbours’ roosters aren’t around to fight or chase them).
When the house-sitting was over, the chickens liked staying outside all day and, now that green grapes aren’t available to bribe them with, there was no way to get them into the day pens, so they still stay out all day.
– The calf who had recovered from pink eye started to lose condition and was clearly ailing, though I thought it was only because there’s not much grass around during winter. I tried feeding him hay, which he only picked at, and then a grain mix, which he wouldn’t touch at all, and for a while I made sure he got a drink of water from a bucket every day (until I saw him drinking from the trough by himself, and knew it was okay to leave him to it). Well, he died. Poor little thing. After all the trauma of the pink eye and his stupid mother (who kept running away rather than look after him), he died. I think now it might have been better to send him off to market and death when he was blind, the way my father intended to do. I intervened and got the vet out to help, but all that did was give the calf a few months of – well, what? Further life? What if he was miserable the whole time? I hate it that I got to decide what to do with his life, just because I’m a human. I shouldn’t have that responsibility. It was his life, but unless he willed himself to death (which I don’t believe is possible), he didn’t get to decide for himself.
– I haven’t found anywhere to live, so I’m still at my parents’ place. This is so ridiculous and hard to believe I can hardly believe it myself. The problem is that I hate everywhere, and anyway there are very few places in my price range (low) that are in the country (which I think is necessary if I’m to keep the chickens – though now that Fluffy might have gone, I’m wondering whether I should keep the chickens any more).
– Baby the chicken might be a rooster. I can’t tell. She hasn’t laid an egg yet, even though she must be nearly a year old, but still mostly looks like a hen (I think), but now crows like a rooster, and has little spurs growing on her legs. (Fluffy did too, though; they just didn’t continue growing.) If Fluffy is gone and now I have two roosters, that’s a terrible situation and I will probably have to have them both killed. Don’t know how. Don’t want to decide. Yet another instance where the lives of others are for me to decide. It’s awful.
– Time flies.