Getting Real

Looking out the other day I caught sight of this very pensive looking kookaburra.  Surrounded on every side by natural beauty, this usually happy guy was looking a little serious.  And honestly, I could kind of identify.  Everywhere I look at the moment there seems to be something needing thought and consideration.

For the past couple of months our Little Red Hens have been enjoying free range of the farm, having the time of their lives digging up worms and bugs and all sorts of bits and pieces.  It was therefore a bit disheartening to get a visit from my neighbour telling me a wild dog had taken just taken the last of his chooks out of the houseyard in broad daylight.  That presented a problem; I love the idea of the chickens roaming freely, getting to express their natural instincts, but I do not love the idea of finding them ripped to pieces after a dog has followed its own natural instincts.  I’ve got a few ideas on a modified form of free range, but it’s still a bit of a dent in my hopes for the farm.

On another front, a brief bit of hot weather brought to our attention another problem that we knew was on the horizon but hadn’t fully figured out how to solve.  The previous owners of the farm had tried to raise their cows as organically as possible, not using any chemicals except for the treatment of one pest they hadn’t been able to control – buffalo fly.  We knew that as summer approached and the weather warmed up the fly numbers would increase and begin to bother the cows.  We couldn’t believe that after only a few warm days we began to see flies on the cows – those buffalo flies work fast!  So onto the internet we went for a bit of reading, onto the phone and email to talk to relatives with farming experience, and off to the rural supplies store and the vet for some discussions.  But, after all that reading and all that talking the major conclusion we’ve drawn is that there really aren’t any perfect solutions for dealing with buffalo fly.  Between the high rainfall in our area washing off sprays and drenches (organic or chemical) and serious issues with resistance in the flies themselves, it’ll probably be a bit of a multi-pronged approach if we’re to make any inroads at all.  Luckily the weather has cooled off again, suppressing the flies, and we’ve got a little more time to figure out which approach we’re going to take.

Midnight having a snack
Midnight having a snack

Really these are opportunities to learn a little more and try out a few different approaches, see what works.  It’s a bit unrealistic to expect things to go without a hitch, day in and day out.  🙂 Here’s to learning a little more and doing a little better!

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