Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Updates from the Unfarm

It has been a while since I've checked in so another session of Unfarm Updates is in order. I (barely) survived the school year, managing to pull off A's and B's in a soil science class and a computer class. The computer class was especially tedious with lots of little details to memorize and four proctored tests to take. (Really, proctored exams in a 100 level online class? Please.) Needless to say, I was more than happy to cross that class off my list and I will never have to take another computer class for as long as I live. Do you hear angels singing, too, or is it just me?

Speaking of angels, we've had another loss here on the Unfarm. Poor little Suki-mama passed away about a month ago. She had been suffering from kidney disease for a while and eventually lost about half her body weight. Despite the best vet care we could provide, the disease was too severe and she passed away here at home in the morning. I had checked on her as soon as I woke up and found her sitting in her litter box, not looking great but hanging in there. I returned less than half an hour later, after eating breakfast and preparing her medicine, to find that she had passed away. So far, Jojo – who was her mate – seems to be doing tolerably and is not moping much, so I have hopes that he will not decline as time goes on and I will not be forced to lose another of my children any time soon.

Such is the cycle of life, I suppose. No matter how much we may want to, we can't stop it from turning. The way I handle it, usually, is to bring a new animal to the Unfarm. And so we have found ourselves with a couple new additions: Buttercup, a Chantecler breed chick, and Belle, a Brahma. “We found ourselves with a couple new additions” may imply that they showed up on our doorstep one morning, with their small possessions wrapped up in a bandana, carried over their shoulders on tiny sticks. This is not what happened. What did occur was more along the lines of my mother lamenting the fact that our hens don't lay eggs nearly as often now that they are more mature, which I took to mean, “perhaps we should get more chickens.” She will, of course, deny this if you ask her, so I took it upon myself to go to the local store and pick up a couple rarey breed chicks. When adding chickens to an existing flock, it is best to add two or more at a time, so that they have a companion while they are young and a partner once they join the flock, to prevent the older hens from picking on them too much. So really, it would have been irresponsible of me to only get one. Once she got over her shock, Mom quickly warmed up to the chicks and now calls them “her girls” or “the littles” (as opposed to our established flock - "the ladies") and likes to say goodnight to them before going to sleep. So really, I did her a favor.

I feel that I should perhaps mention another disclaimer - despite what most of my family thinks, I am not an animal hoarder.  I do not acquire animals willy nilly, so to speak. I never have more animals than I can take care of, or more than we have room for, or more than we can afford to care for.  It is quite possible that, if asked, my parents would argue that last point - they frequently complain that we have surely funded an additional wing or two on our vet's office by now, but when it comes down to it, we have never euthanized an animal that was not ready to go because of costs.  We pay for laser treatments for arthritis, surgery for kidney stones, specialists in cardiology and hysterectomies on hens.  It has always been my opinion that money can eventually be replaced, but we will never have another Kita, or Emmy, Dandelion the hen, or Patches the guinea pig.

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