Farmer's Little Helpers
The new hay smells of a fresh meadow and has poplar leaves, strawberries, different weeds and lots of green grass. There is a huge difference between meadow hay that nature planted and the farmer planted mix of timothy, alfalfa and brome grass. The latter is dead. I never realized that until today, because the turkey hen and the ducks are right under my feet when I am feeding the sheep and the goats with the new hay. For a while I thought they were just finding some seeds in it, but there are wild strawberries, dandelions, clover flowers, and best of all, bugs. The bugs are dried and dead of course, but when you are a duck or a turkey, and it has been a very long winter, any bug is good. The turkey jumps up and snatches the bugs in the hay as though they were alive, but the ducks just hunt and munch. I have to be super careful not to stab a duck with the fork because they climb right into the hay - it is that good! And the sheep and goats love it and eat it up. I think the rich hay with too much alfalfa caused multiple births and huge babies for the sheep because it was too rich with protein and too dead with minerals. Next year I hope only to have a fourth of the sheep and a few of the goats, so I won't need to buy so much hay. They waste about half of it when it is too old, too stemmy, has little leaves or blades of grass and when it is the mix of the standard farmer these days. Imagine that the farmer tears up a great field of pasture hay with all the delicious offerings and weeds to plant the un natural hay and then fertilizes it with chemicals. I would not doubt that Round up is used to kill the weeds before planting that hay too. So, my farmer's little helpers are enjoying the new hay as much as the fuzzy creatures too, and I love it. The old hay had mould in it, some bales worse than others, and some so bad they had to be discarded. This hay is fresh and clean and my lungs, as well as the lungs of the animals thank the farmer for it. The duckies do too.
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Fluffy writes daily about the experiences on the farm and with the bed and breakfast patrons.