Field Trip to an Animal Sanctuary (and saving chicks)

We loaded up the cat kennel in the Fiat (our urban farm vehicle) and headed hours north.  Through our old county, our old town, past our old farmhouse, and down the Kiowa-Bennett road.  The prairie is breathtaking even in winter.  Golden strands peek through layers of snow as the sun glistens across the vast expanse of country.  The western sky a watery blue stretching far and wide.  Singing to country music on the radio and a good feeling in our hearts, we drove towards Danzig’s Roost, a rooster and animal Sanctuary in Bennett, Colorado.

 

Sometimes the carefully protected public get glimpses inside factory farms.  What we consider family, humane, free range, and all the other marketing words that help sell meat is all a façade of chicken houses crammed with suffering birds and sometimes people are able to get a peek at those and the whole operation is exposed.  The huge chick rescue in northern Colorado this month made the news and raised thousands for resourceful sanctuaries.  But then so often apathy returns and people continue their habits.  Sad that animals are suffering, but unwilling to omit them from their plate.

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We were on our way to take home some of those rescued birds.  Chickens are snuggly, sweet, and have all different personalities.  One of the chicks we brought home is tiny, fluffy, and sings day and night like she is singing her songs of thanks to the heavens.  She doesn’t like to be put down.  As it happens, we went to get between four and six birds and ended up with seven, soft, white babies.  They are in the guest room.  They have every disease you can think of from parasites, E coli, to upper respiratory infections.  That is what is in meat.  I am treating them with my herbs.  So far they are thriving.  These lucky few were saved and will live their life here on Pumpkin Hollow Farm dust bathing, getting treats, and sitting in the sun or on our laps.

We are only allowed poultry in Pueblo but one day we will have land where we can take in more animals, save more lives, do what we can.  But every life counts.

Jewel Straightedge runs the sanctuary that we picked the chicks up from.  She has, what looks to be, hundreds of roosters that she has rescued.  Two calves with big, heartbreaking eyes are from the dairy down the road.  The little girl fights to live.  Darling sheep and goats and geese that clearly know the friend that rescued them all add to the raucous singing of the farm.  Turkeys strut about.  The wind picks up and turns cold and we hasten our tour.

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Jewel and her team rescued over six hundred chicks from the thousands and thousands that were being inhumanely killed and dying without food and water.  With the swift turn in weather, we help her chase hundreds of chicks trying to get them back into their warm enclosure.  It is every bit as hilarious as it sounds.  We are happy as we head back towards home.

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The Chick That Wanted To Be A Duck

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Can you see who is hiding from me here?  As if I will not notice that the chicks on the other side of the tub number one less?

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At any given time, one can peek in and see five ducks.  I mean four ducks and one wannabe.  Macchiato is pretty constantly damp as she likes to run through the water with the ducks and hides behind them if I try to remove her.  These are her buddies, and gosh darn it, she is a duck!

Pondering Goats…and baby pics

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One of the most delightful things about spring are the babies!  So sweet and innocent, so new to this world.  The mama in me wants more babies.  Not the human kind; I am happy being a grandma!  But the furry kind.  These are pictures of Nancy’s two new additions to her farm.  The most darling little goats, the size of a poodle.  Besides having new playful kids brightening up her farm, she will also now be in butter, milk, and cheese once again.  This appeals to me.

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I am allowed to have a goat where I live.  We could finagle a large section of the yard and a little house.  We could get miniature goats and try to keep them from escaping into the fairgrounds or the highway.  We could enjoy their antics and laugh despite ourselves at their naughtiness.  But there are questions for me to ask.  Where the heck do you get a baby goat?  It’s not like they are in the grocery store parking lot next to infant barn kitties.  Where do you get a pair of goats?  Would I be able to sell a baby if my mama goat only had boys?  Or would I become the local goat shelter and have fifty-two crazy little boys running about the property….not a drop of milk in sight?  Where do you sell goats anyway if you have too many?  The grocery store parking lot?  Oh, I have questions.  But I had questions when it came to getting chickens.  When it came to opening up my own shop.  I still am asking questions about bees. (They will be here in a few weeks!)  I have questions about goats.  Would I have to get permission from Doug?  Or would it be like when I brought home kittens, and just sprung it on him, “Guess what’s in the bathroom?”  He is a sucker for babies.  I guess he already knows my mind is reeling with new baby thoughts.  Tis spring after all!

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Some more baby pictures:  This is the baby cow we are treating for an eye issue.  Shorter than my greyhound and a little chunk, she is four weeks old with big sweet eyes with a bit of fun in them.

And of course our own babies of the season.

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And my favorite,

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Happy Spring!

Early Babies

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Babies do tend to come early.  When the feed store called and said that two of the eleven chicks were in, I panicked a little as we were not ready!  Hastily Doug and I set up the baby nursery in the garage.  We brought home the small package of two ridiculously loud Polish Rock chickens (aka: Top Hats).  They are about three inches tall with a high poof on their heads resembling a fabulous fur hat.  It will grow into a plume of wild white feathers atop a black body.  Very stylish, very comical.  We placed them in the plastic bin beneath the light and watched them shiver….watched our breath cloud the darkened air of the garage.  Then we picked up the whole thing and moved it into Emily’s room.

One of them we have deemed to be a diva. She sings many decibels louder than her tiny frame…constantly.  She is so loud that the cats are disoriented.  Thankfully, she slept through the night.  Her sidekick, a slightly smaller version of herself, runs around after her, mimicking her every move.  She sings sweetly.  While Aretha jumps off of the food bowl, Ginger (as in Rogers, and her great hats) is quietly behind her ready to do the same.  Aretha (yes, as in Franklin) thinks she should fly the coop already.  So, another Ethel is in the works.  She looks carefully with her pin point squinty eyes at the top of the bin and with all her little power propels her wings and runs into the side of the plastic bin, three inches higher than she started. I try not to laugh, her will is inspiring, but brain damage is imminent if she doesn’t stay grounded!

Doug and I enjoy their antics so much, babies and grown chickens alike.  Shyanne came tearing into the house, boyfriend and friend in tow, squealing with delight (so that’s how you get teenagers home!) over the little fluff bundles.  Andy is disappointed he is house sitting because he wants to cuddle and see them as well.  I imagine next year with new chickens, the tiny hands of a one year old being carefully provoked to pet the new chickie.  Nice chickie.  For her to grow up and be excited to go to Grammie and Papa’s house…to the fun farm. (As opposed to the funny farm…or perhaps, well never mind.)  Where our future grandkids can be can be a wild children in the wilderness of grain fields and corn stalks.  To walk around with tomato juice strewn down their little chins.  To hold a newborn goat, to pick up eggs and help make breakfast, where they can go for a ride on the tractor with Papa.  Where they can lie in the grass with a thermos of hot chocolate and watch the stars.  Where they can be loved and snuggled and on Grammie and Papa vacation…away from the confines of homework, where literature and art are fun, where poetry is written naturally by the lake.  Where the farm is school.  Farmgirl school will change over the years into an all inclusive resort for little ones.  Our first arriving early.

Maryjane has stopped growing and is having trouble finishing up.  So, tonight Emily will be induced.  Tomorrow, folks, my next farmgirl will be born.  I ask your prayers for Emily and Maryjane (and the sanity of Grammie among doctors) and I will post pictures of our new little arrival when she gets here….hopefully kicking and ready to play hard on our farm!