My animals are smarter than your animals

DimsworthAs a farm mama, I have a pretty established routine. I get up at dawn, do farm chores, then usually stake out my favorite kitchen table spot with a cup of coffee and the latest craigslist posting (farm/garden section, obviously). The other day, my morning agenda was rudely interrupted by a loud rapping at the sliding glass door that leads out onto the deck. I looked over to see Dimsworth, who was pressed up against the glass – close enough to make a blowfish face if he had lips. As I stared at him, he started knocking on the door with his beak again. I immediately dragged Gene into the room so that he, too, could witness the miracle of a turkey intelligent enough to knock on the door and ask to come in. When Dimsworth saw us both staring, he immediately doubled the intensity of his knocks. Gene, who had just noticed the nasty pile by Dimsworth’s feet that indicated he had been waiting for us to notice him for quite awhile, demanded I go chase him off the deck. And then hose it down. The scariest part of the whole experience was that Dimsworth wouldn’t get out of the doorway, even when I opened it and tried to come out. I had to nudge him aside, then distract him with a treat to get him away from the door. He either really wanted to come inside, or was disappointed he didn’t get the chance to sell Gene a magazine subscription after knocking on the door for so long.

spider bunnyOddly enough, Dimsworth wasn’t the only one to display supernatural powers this week. Gene and I needed to go into the Bunny Ranch to determine whether or not Milton and Stella were really a boy and girl, respectively (more on that later!). As it turns out, Milton is now Millie, and Stella goes by Stallone. At any rate, Millie was not happy to be examined so rudely, not happy at all. The minute Gene put her down, she started racing around the bottom of the Bunny Ranch at a ferocious clip, then decided the available horizontal space wasn’t up to the task of containing her ire. When she rampaged toward the outer wall, she ran right up it. Literally right up the wall, like some crazy Spider Bunny. She hung there, four feet in the air, right below the cover for her bedroom. Although Gene was impressed, I was scared she had wedged herself against the hardware cloth and the bedroom wall, and was now too scared to come down. He waved a stick up by her head, and she finally dropped down to the ground and took comfort in the big pile of Wheat Thins I set out for her.

I needed to make sure I knew which rabbit was a buck because I found someone on craigslist who had quail for sale. I called himquail and was ecstatic to learn he would trade a bunny for a breeding set of coturnix quail! After making the exchange, I happily deposited three females and one male quail into the recently vacated brooding box. The latest batch of chicks are fully feathered out, and were rather tired of the confinement, so last night they relocated to the main coop. I spent the day today redecorating the brooding box to make it suitable for quail while Gene builds the Quail Sanctuary. They are tiny and fragile, so they have to be kept in a cage. I have big dreams for their new home. Big Dreams. But in the interim, changes had to be made because according to the Internet, quails have psychological needs that have to be met. I added a cozy nesting box, a partial cover for them to seek shelter under, a dust bathing station, and a foraging station stocked with crisp, fresh, greens to eat. That’s in addition to their choice of two feeders and two waterers, plus an assortment of climbing and hiding opportunities. They seem happy, and probably wish I would quit checking on them every fifteen minutes.

shyIn other happy news, the vet came back a few days ago and removed Shy’s sutures. He put up such a fuss about having the bandage taken off the vet decided not to put a new one on. I’m glad, because he seems so much happier with nothing on his head. He healed amazingly well from his surgery, even if he does look a tad lopsided now. Nothing about his personality has changed; he’s still a big sweetheart that loves to be hand fed his kibble and treats. I make sure to talk to him before I walk past him now, so I don’t inadvertently sneak up on him. He spent the entire day today basking in the sunshine and eating all the fallen leaves.

All the critters seemed happier than usual to curl up in whatever sun beam they could happy duckfind. I think they sense that it’s supposed to get to 34 degrees tonight, and the sun beams probably won’t be around for much longer. Lucky duck spent almost the entire day frolicking in the pools; he would zoom around in one, splashing happily for an hour, then run over to the next one and start playing again. I think he’s trying to squeeze every last ounce of enjoyment out of the beautiful fall days before the weather turns rainy again.

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