Promoting understanding
and compassion for animals

Maintenance

I have included this section to give you an idea of the typical tasks which make up our days. Of course Greg and I both work ( me from home) and are raising three small children, so these tasks need to be done around these other important activities. People often ask me how I can manage the children and animals but I find that they actually complement each other quite well. Children appreciate a routine, so the daily feeding schedule is part of their life. They also love all of the animals and are quite happy to trot around after me every afternoon while I feed up. It also gets them out in the fresh air and helps them sleep well at night.

Feeding – I hand feed all of the animals over winter, then in Spring and Summer the horses, cows and alpacas usually just graze. Hand feeding is quite an expensive and time consuming business as the feed has to be ordered delivered and stacked. The feed then needs to be mixed up all in different amounts and ratios and fed to the animals twice a day. The horses (all except Kittly) receive an aged (for older horses) pelleted formula, Dairy Meal and Rice Bran soaked in water then mixed with lucerne chaff in the morning and a biscuit of lucerne hay in the afternoon. The cows receive hay morning and afternoons and the alpacas get concentrated pellets in the morning and hay in the afternoon. The chooks have constant access to layer pellets are fed crushed corn and scraps in the morning and a bucket of greens (usually grass) every couple of days. The rabbits and guinea pigs receive a variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as green grass every day. They also have access to commercial rabbit pellet mixture. Our peacock has bread in the morning (at the front door) and then accompanies us up to the chookyard in the afternoon for some grain mix. Marlee has home cooked meat, veges and pasta at night and usually some leftovers during the day. Oggie and Brodie have cat biscuits of a morning and then meat at night.

Water – all of the animals have access to water which must be checked daily and topped up especially in hot weather. I usually clean out the bath tubs once a week. The middle dam contains a pump which is connected to underground irrigation pipes which Greg uses to fill up the tanks. This is quite a time consuming exercise, taking up to an hour to complete. In the middle of winter it is also necessary for me to break the ice on the water troughs each morning to allow the animals to drink.

Rugging – because of the cold and their age, I rug all of the horses in winter. I try to take the rugs off during the day but some days this is just not possible. In fact this winter, they actually wore their rugs for about ten days straight during one cold spell.

Worming – I worm the horses every three months and Jeff our farrier does this for me when he does their feet. The cows are wormed at the same time however I just mix their worming paste up with their feed. The chickens are wormed about 4 times a year with medication that is added to their drinking water. The cats are wormed with tablets hidden in food that is very strong tasting, usually sardines in tomato sauce.

Feet trimming – the horses have their feet trimmed by our farrier Jeff, every eight weeks.

Exercise – three of the horses (Summer, Duke and Kitty) are ridden regularly with Kitty and Summer attending Pony Club with Kelsea and Kyle each fortnight. Blaze is the only one who can’t be exercised because of his arthritis.

Weeding the paddocks – twice a year.

Rotating the paddocks with the animals – constantly.

Manure spreading – whenever paddocks are rested.

Shearing the alpacas – yearly, usually the second week of November. It always rains for at least four days prior to the shearing.

Cleaning chook shed, rabbit cage and guinea pig pens – fortnightly.

Mowing – in summer, every second week. If Greg was to mow all of the lawns around the house it would take him about six hours. Obviously this isn’t feasible every second week so he does it in stages and Kyle helps out too.

Weeding, vegetable, flower and herb gardens – every couple of months. The herb gardens also need to be topped up with woodchip every couple of years.

Pruning herb gardens – I usually cut back most of the herbs at the beginning of winter to promote vigorous growth in the spring.

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