"THE OTHER CRITTERS"

Everyone has a job to do on the farm, even if it is just to entertain us....

Frank is a very special gal. Our Great Pyrenees brought her home one day and insisted we keep her. The two were inseparable. She is a cattle dog 'blue healer' mix. She is a fabulous dog and we are so glad she adopted us. She is a great guard dog and a hoot.
Scrubbie was a 'castaway critters' newspaper ad candidate that became a LMA happy hound. I came home from an alpaca auction, and my husband had adopted him while I was away. Scrub is a real misfit. He has half a tongue, a hole in his skull with loose shrapnel on the other side and hardly any teeth in front. It takes him eons to eat dinner, but he is a happy hound with no bitter issues from whatever happened before he graced our lives.
Worm was picked out of the doggie line up at our local Mountain shelter. We had recently lost both of our beloved Ridgebacks, and wanted to grow the pack. I don't know how we got so lucky, or how anyone could give up a puppy like him. He is such a delight. We had never heard of a Plott Hound before we met him, but soon learned he matches the breed behavior and looks to a T, except that he doesn't hunt for boar here, just squirrels. He loves our cats, respects the alpacas and never harms the free range ducks or chickens. He is smart and an independent thinker. As a great guard dog, he always let's us know if something is not right, with his deep, long howls.
the great pyrenees, mounty the moon dog
great pyrenees & ridgeback

great pyrenees and cat

This is "Mounty". A Great Pyrenees. Great Pyrenees take their name from the mountain range in southwestern Europe where they long have been used as guardians of the flocks.
Mounty arrived on the farm before our alpacas, so it was inevitable that he loved being around us more then them. None the less he was a great dog and protector of our property!
Learn more about the Great Pyrenees

Peekay, Tandia & Fanny, our beloved Rhodesian Ridgebacks
A sight hound, originally from South Africa, RR's were bred to hunt lions. They have a distinct line of hair that grows backwards down the center of their backs, like a cow came along and took a big, long lick down their back. We plan to someday have another Ridgeback grace our lives when the timing is right. T-bo, Fan and Peekay have all passed on from our lives. gone but, never forgotten.

tandia, peekay, hehe-ridgebacks & cat
tandia-ridgeback and cat
male ridgeback-peekay
The Cats: What is a barn or art studio without cats? .

We have had many feline friends on the farm over years. Some were with us before the farm, some showed up and were taken in and some adopted from the local shelter.
Several have very special stories, like Tweek and Hey Nonny Nonny. Tweek we believe was beamed into the big white pine outside of our house by aliens....oh, my goodness, we have never met a more mischievous, playful or smart cat such as he. He makes us laugh every day and not just a giggle, a gut laugh. How he found his way as a tiny kitten high up in the tree, we will never know.

Nonny was found mauled out back. We never were able to find out what happened to her. She was feral to be sure, skinny and beat up, hardly able to stand and unable to walk. It has taken a long time for her to recover.

How are cats and alpacas?
Cats should always be spayed/neutered and be kept up to date on shots & test negatively for FLV & FIBV, especially around alpacas which can get toxoplasmosis.....just like humans do. If you are diligent about the care of your cats and do your best to encourage them to eat "cat food" instead of wild things, it should not be a problem.

shelter kittes, butterbean & eliza
grampa chuck laying egg
hen house
yellow no.five laying egg
vidialla chicken in the house coat
crazy roosters
Chickens

Did you know that chickens do not come from eggs...
they come from the post office. yep, they arrive in a little box that peeps all the way home.

We have 30ish chickens. Mostly hens, and a usually a rooster or two. The roosters are loud, and do their very best to out LOUD each other. They crow in the morning, anytime someone new comes around, a big bug is found by someone other then them, or what the heck, just because they feel like it! Personally we enjoy it, and much to our surprise our neighbors seem to too, especially when we share the eggs. You just haven't lived until you cook a fresh egg that you plucked from under a hen that morning. A deep orange yoke, with a creamy rich flavor!!! Yummy! They are very easy to care for and very entertaining! Most of our chickens are rare breed chickens, that come in fancy colors with rather silly hair do's. But we also have some industrial strength brown egg layers and some of the Peruvian blue and green egg laying Araucana. We are hoping to add to the flock this spring, maybe even crazier looking birds! My husband keeps eyeballing the roosters hackle feathers to use for flies for fly fishing, and I am afraid I may come home to a coup that is not quit as LOUD, one of these days. They truly are big fun, loud, but fun!

How do chickens and alpacas get along?

Great! The chickens eat the snails that can potentially carry the meningeal worm virus!....So, they have that going for them, plus they seem to provide extra exercise and entertainment, as the alpacas like to chase the chickens. I once watched one of our males individually chase each chicken into the coop, kicking, jumping and snorting the whole time, he was having a hoot & holler of a good time doing it!

Of course chicken poop is entirely another story. While it makes a fantastic fertilizer they are not at all shy about where they poop. They poop on everything, and unless you are diligent about keeping the waters and feed buckets clean, and I mean a good scrub, it is probably not for you.

It really helps that our chickens have a coop separate from the barn. Which means a whole lot less poop in the barn, in fact it is rare that I find a chicken's 'whitecap" in a feed bin. And, regardless of having, nice, hand-built-to-specification, laying boxes in the coop, they lay their eggs all over the place, in the corners of the stalls, in hay bags, under bushes & sometimes even in the middle of the driveway.

Fortunately they do not poop when they are laying. It is like Easter egg hunting everyday! To me fun, to you well, only you know the answer...

Interesting Chicken & Egg Facts & Recipes!

DUCKS

Duck eggs are good for eating or cooking. If you have some grass forage land and a stream or pond they will raise themselves. No need to buy feed or worry about cleaning waterers.

However, you don't have to have a pond, a sunken trough, half-barrel or pan will do. You can raise ducks successfully without a pond, but they like water to wash themselves in and it is said to be best if the eggs are moistened regularly during the setting. This moistening occurs naturally whenever the ducks return to the nest with wet feathers from bathing.

How do ducks get along with alpacas?
Ducks are immensely entertaining, goofy, non-aggressive (un-like geese) and are fabulous slug vacuums! They clean the pastures of slugs, helping to control meningeal worm. The ducklings are the cutest things ever!

For more information on Ducks, click here.