Fall on the Farm – Animals & Baby Animals

Baby Animals.

When someone says, “baby animals” I automatically think spring.

Well, we are having a baby animal-fest this year for some reason…… in fall.

Baby #1:  Squirrel

If you have seen my facebook page in the last 24 hours you know that it is raining squirrels.  Why, oh why do random animals keep ending up in my life and my kitchen?  I was outside playing with my new baby bunnies (kits) when I heard a little screaming noise.  I thought it was a bird.  I thought a baby bird had either:

  1. fallen out of it’s nest
  2. been launched out of the nest by mama-bird in a failed attempt at flying lessons
  3. was being eaten by one of my cats

As I walked toward the squeaking noise I saw a walnut fall from a tree.  A very tall tree.  Turns out it wasn’t a walnut.  It was a baby squirrel.  When the walnut, I mean, the squirrel hit the ground he squeaked and squealed.

So, believe it or not, little squirrel survived a 60 foot fall to the ground and is currently being nursed (bottle-fed) by my oldest daughter.

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We tried to return him to his mama squirrel.  It didn’t work.  I left him at the foot of the tree he launched from hoping she would come claim him.

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At 8:40pm it was dark, cold and I didn’t want the little guy to become raccoon food so I scooped him up and brought him into the house where he was fed a bottle of warm cream and tucked into a fish aquarium with a heat lamp for the night.

Baby #2:  Kits

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We have baby rabbits.  This is a rare view of a mama bunny feeding her kits.  It is quite a show.  Mama remains standing and gets into a “hunch” stance.  The kits scurry underneath her, flip over on their backs and kick their little legs like mad.  The entire process takes about 2 minutes and no one stops moving.

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In other rabbit news:  we had to move papa-bunny into a separate hutch so he wouldn’t eat the babies and so mama-bunny wouldn’t chew off his no-no zone.  For more on that go here.  Now we have “His” and “Hers” rabbit condos.

Baby #3:  Cow

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This is the view I get of Norman on a daily basis.  Norman is my little-baby-schnookems-pumpkin.  He is a darling of a calf and whenever I come near his fence-line I am greeted with his sweet nose.  He was our first bottle baby and is as cute as a calf can be.

For more on Norman:

We recently had the Artificial Insemination Technician out to breed our milk-cow Rosie.  Hopefully she is bred and we will have another cutie next spring.

AND

Baby #4:  Piglets

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……Our pot-belly pig looks like she’s about to farrow (have some piglets).

It’s not my fault.

George and Polly were about to become sausage when I adopted them.  George is a fully intact male.  Polly is his woman.  I didn’t do it.  I’m innocent.

There’s some entertaining stories that came with George.  If you haven’t yet met him please feel free to get caught up at your leisure.  In short:  George is a Micro-Mini Potbelly Pig who weighs 200 pounds.  He came from the Pawnshop, tried to die in August, is supposed to weigh 50 pounds and his real name isn’t George.  For more details:

I have never seen the actual deed but I’ve been told that it happened and Polly is currently bred.

By the looks of her belly and her behavior, I’m going to say they’re probably right.  I’ve never seen a pig who was about to give birth before, but let’s just say that some signs are universal:

  • Huge belly
  • Engorged Mammary Glands
  • Pacing, standing and the look of general discomfort
  • Swollen, red vulva (sorry for saying, “swollen, red vulva”)

In addition to these undeniable signs Polly is ripping out all the grass in her pasture and spreading it in the pig hutch.  She’s definitely nesting.

I dedicated this past Sunday to Polly.

I spent the better part of my day helping my pretty, voluptuous, potbelly girl prepare for the arrival of her piglets.

I’m going to try to make a long story short, but with me, that never works very well.

Anyhow, here’s what happened:

  • George got pneumonia and needed love and care.  I moved him to a separate pasture from the rest of the pigs.  Having George in a separate paddock was good for several reasons:
    1. I could give him medicine
    2. He couldn’t infect any other pigs
    3. I could put George on a much needed diet
  • In isolation George cried oinked day and night for his woman.  He was lonely.  So, we moved Polly up to the new pasture with George to keep him company.  He was no longer sick and a little less food wouldn’t hurt Polly either.  Now I have 2 potbelly pigs on diets.
  • George didn’t like his diet and decided that he should eat his food and Polly’s.  Since George has 5 inch tusks, Polly didn’t put up much of a fight.  Most days Polly could get a few mouthful’s down before George ran her off.pot belly 1.1
  • Next, I bought them separate bowls.  This helped,  but Polly is a much slower eater than George (go figure) and as soon as he polished off the last of his meal he would help himself to Polly’s.
  • Poor Polly got to the point that she was scared to go near the food because she knew George would get after her.  She was hesitant to eat even if I was in the pen with her keeping George away.  She just knew he was going to come stab her in the face with his giant tusks and take all the food.

George needed to be somewhere else so Polly can eat, farrow, and be a good pig-mommy to her expected litter.

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In order to keep the bully, I mean George, from being a big-fat-meanie-pants hogging all the food, I put a fence-line through the middle of the pasture.  I’m using the term “I” loosely here.  DH and my son may have helped with the fence.  🙂

George on one side.  Polly on the other.

His and Hers.

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I even built George a little house to live in.  OK, so DH and I built George a house.  I couldn’t just leave George out in the weather. So, we used some scrap wood and made a frame.  We didn’t have any large boards or roofing……..so we wrapped the frame with some tarp and stuffed it with warm hay.

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I’m planning to get a piece of roofing and some plywood, but until that happens George is camping.

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After we got the fence up and George’s tent built,  I filled Polly’s hutch with fresh hay, gave her clean water, filled her bowl with food and wished her the best.

Polly was cautious at first, but once she realized that George couldn’t get to her or her food she enjoyed dinner.

I am like a nervous expecting, first-time daddy.  I hope she’s OK.  I hope the piglets are OK.  I hope George doesn’t tear through the fence and eat the babies.  I hope she is getting enough to eat.  I check on her constantly and have the vet’s number saved in my phone in case I need it.  I’m a mess.

I’ll let you know as soon as little piglets begin to appear!

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OINK!

Candi

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