Before we can go, I have to make sure the homestead will be taken care of. Our critter sitter always does an excellent job and is worth every penny we pay him. There is no rest on a vacation if one is constantly worrying about the state of things back home! But it's been so long since he's been in charge- a lot of things change around here weekly and seasonally, let alone in a year's time! So I'm already starting to make lists of what needs done. I'm trying to see my daily routine as if I'm a stranger to it. This note will be similar to one I'd write for a first timer. And I'm walking that fine line between too much information overload! and it sure would have been nice to know that!
So far I've got this:
Please read before attempting chores! I've separated the instructions according by critter area.
Inside Cat- Feed her first or she will show her displeasure by upchucking something unpleasant in a space where you least expect it- like in your shoe. We've decided to board the dog for the week so you will also need to clean the litter box. Try to look excited and thank her for the "cookies" so she won't miss the dog so much.
Outside Cats- They will bombard you as soon as you step outside and try to convince you they haven't been fed in months. Do not fall for it! Look at the full bowl in your hand and remind yourself they get that much food every single day. Then take your eyes off the bowl and watch your step because their favorite game is to see how many times they can trip you between the door and their dishes. I think the record is 5. But I tend to lose count when my patience is waning so....
Goat Pen- Rut season is not over and the doe is bred so enter pens at your own discretion. (All feed and water containers can be reached over the fence.) If they turn up their noses to the feed, try singing a verse of Mairzy Doats while you dump it in. They love that, especially if you sing it loud enough for the neighbors to hear.
Chicken Coop- Upon entering the run, close the gate quickly. I think the Wyandotte hen has been watching "Escape From Alcatraz." The Silkies have decided to roost most of the day now, so don't be surprised if they don't come down to eat while you're there. Oh, except for the youngest one who decided to go broody- she is trying to make a nest under the UNDER THE ROOST! ERG! That's why the garden hoe is in the coop right now. Use it to GENTLY scoot her over and roll the eggs into easy reach. You can just toss those eggs since we know what happens UNDER THE ROOST.
Speaking of broody, the Buff Orpington is also nesting. She has a clutch of eggs (in a nest box) that have been clearly marked with a permanent marker. Leave her alone. If you have to disturb her for any reason, don protective gear.
Rabbit Cages- The does got confused by the recent weather changes and think they are expecting. Don't be surprised by their odd behavior- running in circles and digging through their feed. It's all normal for their imaginary conditions. The buck is trying to take it all in stride but if you want to slip a piece of carrot or apple into his cage- I certainly wouldn't blame you.
Sometime in the next couple of days I'll add in the important things like how much to feed to who. But for now I'm just sitting here and wondering if we pay him enough.