Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October at Hidden Villa

(Pictures added!)
We came back with our pants covered with (I think) cow manure. There's a big pile in the chicken section that the chickens run away from kids on. Unluckily for the chickens, my kids are not intimidated by small hills of manure. After a bit, they realized that James was (mostly) harmless, and seemed to prefer his quiet advances and general plopping down in the middle of them to the squeals of some visiting schoolkids who were getting a great tour. I hope the chicken taking a dirt bath can recover--it looked as if all the feathers on its back had been plucked. Do chickens persecute each other? As the kids ran past the cows and sheep, we got the usual "Are they twins?" question, and heard some teenage boys talking about how they wanted babies and how they wanted to be "daddies", which isn't something I hear every day.

We also got to see two piglets. The sow didn't like me coming over to look, but seemed, as most animals seem to be, more tolerant of the kids. Is the red lamp a heat lamp? And why is there a fence between them and their mother? It looks like they can go to her, but she can't go to them. James didn't want to go home after peeking in at the goats, and had to be relegated to my shoulders to get him back to the car. Isabel insisted on holding hands, and as James isn't very interested in holding on at the best of times (he has absolute trust that I won't let him fall off), it was a somewhat precarious journey. We were very grateful that we'd saved our water for the end! (Also very grateful that those stinging weeds near the rams had been cut back.)


yours truly said...

farms are fun! Especially when you live in the city and don't see them often.

Sometimes chickens will persecute each other but also chickens molt each year. They lose all their feathers and look pretty pathetic as new ones grow in.

Baby pigs are adorable. One reason they might have that fence between the babies and mother is as a preventative measure so the mother can't wander around and lay on any piglets. Also, it probably makes it easier for the farmers to get at the baby pigs. I don't recall if sows get protective of their babies but in any case she's an enormous animal and it's probably easier and safer to stay separated from her if you need to get amongst the babies.

Can't wait to see your pics!

rachelm said...

I hope she was molting. That would make me feel better. With the fence, I kept thinking of James Herriot's story about the pig who had to be pacified with a large bucket of ale so she would stop attacking her offspring! (Apparently there is a genetic predilection for this, which is interesting.) The risk of lying down on the piglets makes sense to me--she was gently snuffling over by them, and mostly seemed interested in warning us off from looking at the piglets. Thanks for the animal analysis. :) How are your family's animals these days?

yours truly said...

great pics! My mom doesn't have too many animals these days, mostly a bunch of random cats and a very old dog. She is getting chicks next month, though, and she lets some neighbors keep about 20 sheep in her pasture. It works out for both sides: they have a place for their sheep and she gets free pasture mowing. :)