Caring For Your Flock Over The Holidays

I don’t know about you but around here things get awfully busy at Christmas time. Despite our best efforts to keep things simple each year, it gets hectic with the gift making, the get togethers, the church productions, the cookie baking, etc.

I bring this up because of a situation we experienced recently, in the hopes of conveying an important message about the care of your animals.

You may recall that we also raise alpaca.

If you’re not familiar with alpaca, they are like a llama except their fleece is softer and we raise them for their fleece.

Last week my oldest son was out feeding the animals breakfast and came into the house devastated; one of the alpaca had died. There was no obvious reason for Mira’s death, she was just laying there.

I’ll spare you the details but suffice it to say that after a necropsy (like an autopsy for animals) we believe she ate something toxic that had blown into their pen during the strong winds we had that week.

The point in telling you this is that her death might have been prevented.

You see, it was a very busy weekend at our home and while my oldest son is in charge of feeding the animals, that responsibility was scattered amongst many over the course of a few days.

I did the feeding on Friday night and thought it odd that Mira didn’t come running to eat. She was the herd queen and got first dibs at the food. We had company at the time so I assumed she was just being shy as everyone crowded around to see the animals.

Saturday morning, my son and one of his sisters fed the animals. They noticed that Mira didn’t have an appetite but didn’t think too much of it. By the time they came in the house we were headed out the door to go to the farmer’s market and Mira’s odd behavior was forgotten.

Saturday evening my husband was tending to the animals.

He thought it strange that Mira was eating from the ground while laying down but again, we were headed out the door.

In case you’re wondering, our life is very, very rarely this busy. Many things just happened to fall on this particular weekend.

It was Sunday morning when my oldest son found that she had died.

I’m not sure if we could have saved her but I know this, not only were we too busy to properly attend to our animals that weekend, we failed to communicate important information with each other.

And that’s really my point; know the condition of your flock.

If there is more than one person tending to your flock, make sure you communicate with each other. Even the smallest, out of character behavior could be important when your are trying to piece together a puzzle.

Don’t get too busy to give your animals proper care. In my opinion, proper care is not just food, water and shelter. Proper care is having a relationship with your animals to know their personalities and their normal behavior.

I’ve said before that all the animals here are working animals, meaning that we don’t keep our animals simply as pets. Every animal provides or produces something. But just because we don’t dress our animals in clothes and paint their toe nails doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t know our animals. We need to know them well enough to know when something is wrong.

Give your chickens more than just food and water.

I’m not suggesting that you have to cuddle them and rub their bellies to be a responsible owner, I’m just saying that you need to know what is and is not normal behavior for your flock.

In the coming weeks, if you are prone to get caught up in the hustle and bustle, may I encourage you to set aside regular time to make sure your flock is thriving?

Have a Wonderful Week,

Wendy Cameron

Click here to get instant access to 170+ detailed Q&A’s just like this one on every chicken keeping topic you could imagine

Click here to grow the most productive organic garden you’ve ever grown. Once you integrate this into your gardening, you’ll never look back. It’s one of the easiest, most natural, organic ways you can help your plants thrive

See Also…

How To Grow A More Productive Veggie Garden…

How To Turn The Food I Grow Into Healthy Hearty Meals…

How To Keep Chickens, Rabbits & Other Livestock…

How To Turn Herbs Into Natural Health & Wellness…

How To Become More Self Sufficient In General…