I thought this morning would be a normal feed and I’d be straight back into the daily cycle. Three small incidents put me off balance a little:
One of the reasons we feed the sheep, even though it’s summer, is to distract them while we take the feed to the pigs. This is mostly due to our Soay ram Muga. If he feels you have food and aren’t sharing then he can charge. He’s rammed me a couple of times and not only does it hurt, the bruising lasted a few days, but it’s also a shock as he charged from behind. This means I keep a special eye out for him when I’m crossing.
This morning he didn’t seem interested in the food and instead kept cutting in front of me as I walked across the field, sticking his tongue out and licking his lips. The only time I’ve seem him do this before is when he’s sizing up a likely ewe. I did not think him getting too close to me would result in a positive outcome, so I moved into a more defensive position when he got too close – tricky with 20kg of pig feed on my shoulder. He backed off a bit but continued to follow me all the way to the pig fence. I usually feed the boys first and stay in the sheep field pouring the feed over the fence to avoid being pushed about by Sir Humphrey. Today I decided to avoid any misunderstandings with Muga and climbed into Bernard’s pen, which is next to the boys, as I can handle her and the piglets without too much trouble.
But then I got into the pen and couldn’t see Bernard anywhere, until I looked around properly and realised she was in the passageway between the pens. This seemed strange as the gate looked closed, and the fences were all fine. On closer inspection the gate seems to have come open and she’d just pushed through and had a nice little time digging up the grass, the gate then swinging back into the closed position but not shutting properly. I persuaded her back in to her pen and as I was trying to open the feed bag – which is now plastic having been an easy paper thing previously – she poked her snout in and tried to get into the hole I’d cut with my pen knife. A brief struggle with her and I had control again, as well as a pile of feed at my feet for her, and went about feeding the rest of the pigs with no problems. I then returned to the barn to feed the poultry.
Where are the ducks?
Feeding the poultry involves braving the geese with a bucket of feed for the Borerarys. I drop that down, they get their long necks in and dont bother me as I go in to the chickens – though I misjudged them this morning and one of the ganders pecked my welly violently – I then give them a handful of chicken feed and pick up the bucket for the Borerarys whom I usually feed last. I’m usually mobbed by the ducks and chickens when I enter their area and have to walk carefully to avoid stepping on them to much squawking and quackage.
This morning the chickens were there, but no sign of the ducks. We’d seen them last night, but nothing this morning. I even called out to them, and on the odd occasion when they’ve not been at the gate they’ve usually come running. But not this morning. Perhaps they were hiding in the nettles? There was no duck sounds at all and I was a little worried.
Fortunately when I went out ten minutes later to take the above picture of Muga, all the ducks were there and quacking away happily. Phew!