It would seem that the old saying is true: the grass is always greener on the other side, or perhaps I should say, the food is always better in the other bowl. We seem to be forever playing musical food bowls here on the Unfarm.
The dogs, for instance, are constantly on alert for any opportunity to get into the cat food, or worse, the sand cookies (our term for what shows up in the litter box after the cats have digested their own food.) Minna has mastered the art of sneaking under the gate and waddling into the chicken run to eat any food the chickens have left behind. The rabbits appear to have no particular desire to eat anyone else's food, but Maia considers bunny berries (aka rabbit poop) a delicacy. (I don't see the appeal either, but there you have it.) The chickens are equal opportunity snackers, eating not only their own food but any scraps we toss their way (they are particularly fond of corn cobs and melon rinds) whatever crumbs they can glean from the kitchen floor and duck food.
Not only are the animals getting into forbidden fruits on their own, I think they may have enlisted help. I suspect that one or more of the animals may have formed an alliance with the squirrels. The chickens and ducks can often be found sitting under the squirrel feeder, catching bits of corn and seeds that the squirrels "accidentally" knock off the feeder while searching for the ultimate prize: peanuts. In addition, I am quite sure that the dogs and ducks have a longstanding agreement - the dogs are forever nosing open the bunny room door (where the ducks spend the night) thus allowing the ducks to waddle down the hallway and into the kitchen where they proceed to splash in the dog's water bowl, making a mess that I must then clean up. I can see what the ducks get out of the arrangement but I am still unsure as to what's in it for the dogs. Perhaps they simply think it's funny to watch me chasing ducks around the house.
Speaking of ducks, Maggie has recently discovered the dog's food bowl. She will often sneak a couple mouthfuls while I'm busy chasing after Minna, trying to wrangle her into her diaper. (If you have never seen ducks running, let me assure you that they are by no means slow animals - they can cover considerable distance in a hurry when they want to.) For the most part, the cats seem to leave the other animals food alone - I expect they consider it beneath them to stoop to eating dog food and the grain and hay the other animals eat holds no appeal for them. They do, however, flock to the kitchen whenever a can of tuna or salmon is being opened, and Aspen has insisted on milk at least once a day for the entire 16+ years we have lived with him. If you decide that you don't want to get him milk until you are done, say, eating breakfast, he will help himself: he jumps up onto the table and sticks his head in your bowl to drink your milk.
I would attempt to come up with a clever, witty ending to this post, but ironically, I can hear Maggie scarfing down Kita's dinner in the kitchen so I'm off to chase down two incorrigible ducks. Until next time.