The ducks that have taken up residence with the heifers across the road…there is a stream and plenty of pickin’s to keep them happy for the winter!
During the week, between Christmas and New Years, I try to take a census of all the critters, big and small, that winter here at the farm. Now these critters aren’t among our 1 goat, sheep and cat, rooster and his harem, 7 dogs, 3 pea fowl, numerous cows, heifers, calves, steers and bulls…these are the WILD critters that come to share food, warmth and shelter with our normal clan or in some cases, each other!
My headcount started this morning while feeding the heifers across the road. They get silage in a home made bunk along with hay in a bale feeder! It seems about 40 or so ducks have taken up residence in the brook and waddle their way up the same path the heifers use to get a drink, and share bunk droppings along with other droppings, if you know what I mean!
While over there my 5 buddies, the crows, were in the big cherry tree by the brook, hopeful a mouse may run out when I dump the feed! They are as good as any cat I’ve seen!
My next sighting is over by the bags with silage, haylage and snaplage. Its TRACKS! Lots of tracks where deer come in just about every third night to feast right out of the bags! Some nights when I am quite sure they will be over there and sneaking out to catch them, I have even found some coming over to eat with the cows at the free stall bunk!!! Many a night has been spent lurking in the shadows watching their antics!
Look…another set of tracks in a straight like coming over from the area by the garden! With closer inspection it is our resident Bobcat that many different people have seen in the area by the corner. Lots of small varmits to eat hang out on the farm!!!
Now it was time to head out back to feed Mongo, Tor, along with all the other boys. While turning the corner, there he was, Mr. Flutter Hawk has returned!!! He was perched on the tailgate of the manure spreader, eye balling the back door on the calf barn. See, Mr Hawk has spent his last three winters feasting off the sparrows that sneak in the calf barn, along with our pigeons living in the silo!
Every year he finds his way into the calf barn somehow, and scares the hell out of the person who has opened the door. This year he found out how to get into the silo, grab dinner and leave, ending up in the haybarn out back where come spring, you could fill a dozen pillows with feathers!
As of yet, no fox in the hay barn as has happened in the past! Two years ago a pair of Bald Eagles were here in the pine trees about all winter. Had a cow break a leg that year and lost her so she became Eagle food. Have seen one Eagle fly ove on Christmas morning! See one Red Tailed Chicken Hawk on a regular basis.
Oh yeah… can’t forget to mentioning that my 5 crows have been right there at every stop all day, every day!!! Cawww, Cawww, Cawww!!!