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Photos from the Farm #17

It was so much fun to visit you in person last week! I wish there had been more time for your questions.

If I didn’t have a chance to answer your question I hope you will write it down in your best handwriting and I’ll answer it here on the blog.

I thought you might like to see some photos from last week.

Sometimes chickens can get a little bit wild. If I hold them upside down by their feet they calm down very quickly.

We tried very hard to make sure each child got a chance to touch a chicken….

and a duckling…..

so you could feel the difference between feathers….

and down (those are the fuzzy feathers that they are born with).

The ducklings have grown since you saw them last week. They are starting to get their feathers, too. By the time they are 12 weeks old they will have all their feathers.

Here is a great link to show you how to take care of ducklings from right after they hatch until they are adults. How to take care of ducklings. Your teacher might not have time to look at it, but you may have time to look at it with your parents.

The ducklings have water to drink, but they don’t have water to swim in yet. Did you know that baby ducklings will drown if someone other than their mother lets them get into a pond? Their mother will ‘preen’ them with her beak. She has special oil glands that coat her feathers and help her float. She can put some of that oil on her ducklings by rubbing her beak on herself then on her ducklings.

Ducklings don’t develop (grow) that oil gland until they are about 6 weeks old. When they are about six weeks old they will start preening (spreading water-resistant oil) on their feathers. Then they can swim and float on the water if they want to.

You can try an experiment: put a little bit of oil in a cup of water. What happens to the oil?

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Do you remember that I told you about trimming goat hooves? Just like your nails have to be trimmed, goat hooves have to be trimmed. Many animals need to have their hooves or nails trimmed. Our cats need their nails trimmed, once in a while we need to trim the dogs’ toenails, too.

It is always easier to trim hooves after we have had some rain. The goats don’t mind walking around on the damp ground and that softens their hooves. Your nails are softer after you get out of the bath or the shower.
I hope your nails never get as dirty as goat hooves do!

Sandy’s hooves are all trimmed and she stands evenly on all her feet.

I can tell when I’ve trimmed enough hoof because when the goat stands up the bottom of the hoof is parallel with the hairline at the top of the hoof.
I can see that I trimmed a little too much off her toes because her toes don’t touch the milk stand.
If you don’t know what parallel means, look at the red lines on the back hoof in the photo. If I keep drawing those lines they will never touch each other. Neither line is tilted towards the ceiling or the floor.

Did you know that farmers have to know math? We do! We need to know all sorts of math or we can’t put up fences or plant gardens or know how to properly feed an animal or how to properly care for a sick animal.

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Here is what the inside of Clover’s new coat looks like. It looks like a giraffe! She doesn’t care, she is very glad to be warm.
Are you smarter than a goat? Do you wear your coat outside?
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Do you see how big the chicks are getting? They are too big for their other home.
Do you see the board behind the white chicken? It closes off a doorway between the front part of the coop and the back part where the new chickens are. We kept the new chickens in the back with food and water until the old chickens got used to them. 
Chickens are bullies, and they are stupid! Hmmmmm….. do you think all bullies are stupid? I wonder about that.
The new chickens stayed in the back for 3 nights. Now the old chickens think they have always been part of the flock. Everyone gets along now! 
I think children are smarter than chickens because they can choose to be kind to everyone whether they are new to the neighborhood or classroom, or if they have been around for a long time. I hope all of you choose to be kind to each other. I know it’s hard to be kind when you are having a bad day, but I think you are smarter than chickens and can do it!
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Next week I will show you what we have to do with Scout. He is a good dog, but he’s not very smart sometimes. He loves to play and work and be outside. He gets so excited to do those things that he doesn’t always eat.

Miles and JJ always eat, the goats always eat, the chickens, and cats eat, too. They are smarter than Scout!

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