Right now our farm is full of little families as all the babies from the spring are still sticking tight to their mommas and their siblings. But not everyone has their own babies and sometimes every momma needs a break.
Thelma is one of our angora goats that became temporary residents of the farm over the winter. Eventually she and her two angora buddies will go live at my parents’ farm but until they get their fencing up we are happy to provide them green pastures and lots of interspecies buddies. Thelma hasn’t been bred in a few years and, because she isn’t registered, probably won’t be bred again. That doesn’t mean she has lost the mothering instinct, though! Each night we go out to make sure the chickens are safely in their coop for the night and lock the door to keep them safe. Normally, chickens instinctively return to the coop to roost in the evening- its so easy! This batch of chickens, though, has decided that they prefer to sleep with their buddy Thelma.
Unfortunately, Thelma sleeps in the pig pen (that’s another story…) which isn’t secure against raccoons or other predators who might be out looking for a chicken dinner, so we have to move the chickens to the coop for the night.
Today I went out to the barn for Ivy’s morning milking and realized that Tinkerbell and Marie were hanging out near the barn like usual but there was no sign of Thelma. Its very unusual to see Tink and Marie without Thelma with them so I was immediately concerned that Thelma was sick or injured. The pasture has grown pretty tall this summer so you often can’t see the sheep and goats until you are right up on them and I had to search around a bit before I found her. Thelma was uninjured but agitated, and then I saw why. Ivy’s twins, Luc and Lilac, had managed to get over/around/through the fence into the neighbors pasture but couldn’t figure out how to get back home. After their adventure with freedom they had clearly decided that there is no place like home and were crying on the other side of the fence. Their mother, Ivy, had shown no sign of distress when I brought her in for milking– she had a full udder and an empty belly and was ready for her breakfast and her milking! Thelma, though, had stayed right by the fence with the kids even when the rest of the flock went back to the barn. Its very unusual for one member of the flock to let herself get separated like that, but she wasn’t leaving those babies behind! When I rescued the kids from their accidental exile all three of them ran around bouncing in joy!