Monday, February 15, 2010

Animal Love

The week leading up to Valentine's day was an eventful one!

On Wednesday we orchestrated the great pig move: Doodle said goodbye to her piglets and took a ride in the trailer up to the barn, where she traded spaces with Tic and Toe. The juggling act of moving Tic and Toe into their holding space inside the barn, distracting the goats with grain, moving Doodle past the goats and into her new space outside, distracting the goats again and herding Tic and Toe into the trailer went smoothly. Doodle seems to like her new found peace and has turned her shelter into a cozy home fit for a pig at a spa! Her piglets, still in the hoop house, are adjusting to life without Mama Doodle and have taken to sleeping in a big pile with Fife and Madison's piglets. Walking into the hoop house early in the morning brings an adorable sight of piglets nestled together under the heat lamp and surrounded by hay.

On Thursday morning we said goodbye to Tic and Toe, thanked them for being such lovable pigs, and brought them to Royal Butcher. It was a bittersweet day--the first piglets born on the farm left, and Gellert, our new boar, arrived. Laura, Mari, Liva and I all drove to Middlesex to pick Gellert up and bring him back to Northfield to his new home where he quickly settled in with Fife and Madison, and began flirting with Doodle through the fence. With a boar on the farm, there is sure to be many more piglets in the future!

With all this pig news, goat lovers don't despair, there is exciting news for you, too! Borris the buck moved out of the barn and down into the hoop house with the milkers a couple of weeks ago. He had been with the seven goats in the barn all winter, and we hoped at least some of them had become pregnant. Friday afternoon Alison, our vet, came to check and confirmed that all seven (Ingrid, Sophia, Grace, Marlene, Betsy, Molly, and Abigail) are indeed pregnant! They will begin to kid in the spring, by which time the current milkers (Jenga, Scrabble, and Martha) will have dried up and hopefully be pregnant again. Myst and Mahjong, our two oberhaslis, are still too young to breed, so they moved up to the barn when Borris went down to the hoop house, and they are enjoying their new space to jump around in.

On a smaller note, Hop and Scotch (the kittens) are growing into the best barn cats you can ask for! They are keen hunters, are incredibly cute, and love being held. Tiny Tim has been holding down the fort in the barn garage, where he and Uno have become great friends. Watching the two of them play together always brings about a laugh! Uno, of course, continues to give everyone love.

With so many changes, the animals are still happy and healthy, and the farmers (though perhaps a bit tired) are happy for it!

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