500 Year Vision

Take pleasure from walking lightly on this Earth

Where we’re at in July – animal care.

July23

This is what we need to do on a daily basis at Novy Mlyn at present (End of July 2014) however these things evolve on a weekly basis as the needs of the animals change.

  1. First, let Bunbury outside to pee. We then keep her inside for the next hour or she will eat the chicken’s food. She got quite fat recently before we realised what she was eating.
  2. Open the hutch on the back porch where the black & white hen lives with her babies – 2 yellow and 3 black. Make sure their food dispenser is full, then clean out their water dispenser. The babies will get ill if the water dispenser becomes slimy from not being washed properly.
  3. In the larger black container mix together one cup of grain with one cup of milled food, add enough water that it is lumpy, not powdery or liquid (about half a cup).
  4. Once the babies have finished eating and run off into the garden with their mother, put their food dispenser back in their hutch and close it. The water can be left on the step for them to drink during the day.
  5. Put the rest of the mixed food into two bowls at least two metres apart – so both the goose and teenagers can eat. Each bowl needs to have water beside it as the goose cannot eat the food safely without water. Open the ark to let out the goose and the five teenage chickens (2 white and 3 black).
  6. Ducks – clean water & fill food. They have a bathing bowl and a glass of water. The water is important as they need to clear their mouths with water when the eat the dry food, and they love to paddle in the bowl. We keep the door of the dog cage closed at night so that they are safe from foxes. During the day they are in the wider enclosure – to keep the dog & cats out. George is an avid hunter of wild ducklings and so will lurk around them looking for his chance for a tasty breakfast.
  7. Fill the goose bath with clean water.
  8. Milk the goat wherever is convenient. She will jump up onto the trailer in the barn, or the picnic table in the garden (you can take her there on the dog lead). For milking, I give her a large cup of grain as well as a handfull of fallen apples as a treat. The milk must be filtered and immediately put in the fridge in a glass jar with the date & am/pm. Wash all the milking pans etc. in cold water first as hot water makes it more difficult to clean. Once dried, the silver pan, jug and filter live on top of the cupboard by the back door. Dijon goat will be quite vocal when she decides it’s milking (apple eating) time. She usually goes and stands on top of the wall of the ruins (goats really love to climb!) and bellows at you till you milk her.
  9. After the teenager chickens have had a chance to eat, put their food and water in the Ark and prop the door open about 10cm so that they can get in and eat this later, but the adult chickens (who eat cheaper grain & find their own food) can’t just eat it all up.
  10. Open the hen house and scatter some oat grain for the adult chickens.
  11. Make coffee for all takers – the milk must be pasteurised before use by boiling it.
  12. Empty the dish washer.
  13. Feed Bunbury and the cats
  14. Breakfast for humans
  15. Tidy & clean kitchen – please make sure that the table, work surfaces and cooking hob are all wiped clean, and all dishes either in the dishwasher or in cupboards. In general I can cope with any number of visitors and chaos in the rest of the house as long as the kitchen is clean and tidy. If you make sure that there is never any washing up left on the island, or dishes left out to dry, then we will get on very well.
  16. Check all plants to see if they need watering – you will need to feel the soil to see if it is dry. During the day – especially if the weather is hot, they will need to be watered again. I have to keep the inside windows on the south side of the kitchen open as if the sun shines all the the plants will dry out and die quickly. After checking and watering every plant in the morning, I do a visual check a couple more times during the day and water again if necessary. There is a large yellow watering can outside for the plants on the external windowsills and front porch. I use the spray bottle for seedlings in the cans in the corner and any jug or bottle to water the plants inside the windows.
  17. Water the sprouting beans – I usually have two or three things growing for us to eat as sprouts – the beansprouts for stir fry as well as lentils for breakfast (wheat in bread makes my stomach bad so I usually will eat very lightly cooked sprouted lentils with garden greens instead of toast in the morning). Also I’ll have chick peas soaking if we’re going to make hummus or curry.
  18. I usually do the rounds after breakfast, break time and before lunch to do a head count of all the animals – and make sure nobody is in the wrong place.
  19. Animal bedtime. We recently lost half our adult chickens to a fox. Foxes hunt at dawn and dusk, when the levels of light are low. On this occasion there was a very big thunder storm and it attacked at about 5pm – three hours before dusk. So – animal bedtime is weather dependent. Unfortunately, if a big storm rolls in, we have to go outside and corral the adult chickens into their house so they don’t get eaten by a fox. The younger ones in the garden are less likely to be caught because they are in sight of the house. If the weather is sunny, I will sit outside in the garden in the early evening until the adult chickens are all standing around outside the hen house as the sun sets behind the trees. If it’s a cloudy day, they will be ready a little earlier than usual. So – first the adults are locked away in the hen house, then the teenagers and goose are herded into the ark with the help of the food left in there, then finally the mother hen and babies go into the hutch on the back porch. Please put clean water in their dispenser and put this in the hutch as well as a little food. The mother hen may be sitting with the babies under her by the composting toilet on the back porch. You will need to be careful moving her as she is very, very protective of her babies and will peck you hard enough to draw blood if you try to pick up the babies in front of her. She will be more likely to cooperate if you show her the bowl of food and lead her using that, in which case she’ll call the babies over to share the food and you can put it down in the hutch.
  20. Things to watch out for: If you hear a wild bird making a sound like a car alarm, go outside and walk around. Go into the back paddock and round by the lake, then back around the front. This bird has warned us before when there have been foxes in the area. Also, if the chickens or goose start making a noisy racket, it’s worth having a look to check there are no predators.
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