Sunday, June 26, 2005

Life on the Funny Farm, or how NOT to be a chicken farmer

I should explain that Farmer Brian lets all his animals run loose. He doesn't believe in keeping them penned up. We used to have 13 ducks, about 75 hens, several roosters, about 30 guineas (male and female), a few turkeys, over 40 rabbits, and dozens of homing pigeons, all set free on the farm.

Of course they don't recognize house property versus farm property so they roam anywhere they want... even the sheep. We have 2 of them - Ewe-Lysses S. Grant and Legolas. Yeah, we name some of our animals because really they are pets. We should be running a petting zoo!

The pigeons tend to sit on the house rooftop, while the chickens range everywhere. We had to put a gate at the end of the driveway to keep the guineas from crossing the road to the only neighbours we have. Yes, they can fly over it but they don't bother.

That's a little trick if you own guineas - put up barriers and make the inside so hospitable that they don't leave. I'll talk about how to make your property guinea friendly another day.

The rabbits were so tame they would laze about on the driveway, lying in the sun and enjoying the warmth. It really freaked visitors out. And the guineas of course are all over, running, flying, pecking for worms and bugs, fighting or displaying, or sitting on the roof of the farm vehicle.

Each animal or bird has its own barn, except the bunnies which are free to sleep anywhere they want. They tend to choose the bigger barn although some go in with the guineas at night. Most of them do go in at night on their own. It's kind of like recess at school. At dusk all the animals start heading to their barns so that Brian can close them in for the night.

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