Saturday, May 10, 2014
Marcella mayhem pig on the side
Marcella continues to grow, expand, learn...and be a big ball of walking, flopping mayhem. The biggest challenge right now is keeping some of the elder, more crippled goats safe. She means no harm, and certain goats-like Stevie- are big enough to bang her away, which is what she needs. I might even start short time periods with her in the main flock while I can observe. She is big enough now not to get hurt, but some of those mature ewes will explain to her very openly what her boundaries are and aren't.She is not ready to be alone in the flock with 2 month old lambs.
Just as I had to put Scooby Keith, then Old Rudy out of the barnyard in the orchard with Aldo -don't feel bad for them, they have a wonderful arrangement all to themselves- I now had to put Professor Otis Littleberry with them. He is relieved, I can tell. I noticed he was getting thinner about 3 weeks ago and began separating him at feed times to ensure he was getting enough. But then I quickly realized it was because he had become Marcella's play target, mainly around evening after I'd go back to the house. It seemed to be not severe enough for too much concern, but this morning-even though I've now been putting him in a contained stall at night with Moose and Goose to keep him away from Marcella's play- I found him with a bloody ear. It's not that Marcella is biting him, she is probably reaching out to grab him in play, and then the teeth leave grooves in his ear. He clearly is not afraid of her, but he tries to avoid her. So, I took him out to be with Rudy and Scooby, and Aldo, and he looks very content. Until Marcella matures, we will leave it that way.
In the meantime, Marcella continues to have her go-to man, Ernest, the world's most tolerant pig. Ernest has given her the heave hoe when needed, which is good. She needs to hear it from them, not me. I am constantly teaching her, or trying, with as little yelling as I can manage. But she is a handful. Still, I have moments with her where I realize she really is maturing right on schedule. She is learning that my hand motion one way might mean, "Stop, there, NOW!" and another hand motion might mean, "Come along, help out now". She sits more near by and observes, versus always going into goof ball mode. It's fun. I truly love working with her. I just hope we can get her grown up without a duck or chicken mishap, but many in the know have told me it is likely to happen once. I take the time to open the chicken hut with her, making her wait while they all fly out. She is very ready at times to 'play' with a flying hen. Yesterday I found old Priscilla in a part of Old Barn she never goes to, and she was away from her ducks. I carried her back to her clan, but I suspect Marcella chased her at some point.
It is all part of her learning, and mine.
And all I can say is - thank God for that little pig Ernest!