Monty, checking out the camera
This past weekend was one of my ride-to-the-sanctuary days. I do this a small handful of times per year – it is 74 miles round trip, and 4800 ft of elevation gain and loss total. For me, that’s a fairly strenuous undertaking. I bike commute, so my base is 135 miles/week, and my commute is plenty hilly, but 74 hilly miles in a day (with 3 hours of physical chores at the halfway point) just isn’t something I can do every week!
Since I had planned on riding, I read the weather prediction with attention to the details…you can imagine my surprise when the skies darkened and we heard thunder in the distance as we raked the goat yard! We were all asking each other, “this wasn’t in the weather report, was it?”
As we walked to the pig yard, past the cows who were hanging out in front of the barn, I was astounded to realize that Carlyle was bigger than the SUV towing the spreader.
Seriously, he’s bigger than a truck! I’m not sure if he’s done growing yet either. These male
holsteins guernseys tend to grow until they’re about 7 years old. This giant size is part of why they suffer so much from arthritis, one of the by-products of the genetic manipulation for dairy cows to produce more and more milk.
Terry left more info on Carlyle’s story in the comments, which I’m also adding here:
By the way Carlyle is a purebred Guernsey, which is a dairy breed like Holstein. This breed is fairly uncommon now because their milk has more fat in it, which consumers don’t really want anymore. Of course he was going to be killed for veal because he was born a boy and can’t produce milk. The only reason he was saved is because the farmer who raised him (who we buy our hay from) had to nurse him back to health as a young calf and fell in love with him. When it came time to send him to slaughter he just couldn’t do it, and asked us if we would take him at the sanctuary. He is six years old and still growing, and is already over 1500 lbs.!
I don’t know how I didn’t know his story before! Love it.
You can see the ominous sky in the background.
It didn’t start raining until we were mostly done with the pig yard, but once it started, it was quickly a drenching downpour. We go to the horse barn after the pig barn, so it was good timing, overall, but Dexter, the youngest horse, was a little unnerved by the thunder that seemed to be right overhead.
We hung out in the horse barn for a while until the rain lightened up a bit, and then we hustled to the chicken barn. It was still raining while we did the chicken barns but since most of our work was inside we stayed mostly dry. I laughed to see Leesa walking between barns with an umbrella.
We so rarely deal with weather like this during chores!
We hung out for a while in the chicken barn after finishing up to wait for the rain to lighten again. Because of the heavy rain we’d kept all the birds inside the barn, and you’d have thought they might get antsy, but it was a very peaceful atmosphere.
You can see Ruby hanging out in this picture, and you can clearly see her amputated beak. The beak amputations sound pretty horrible even if you’ve never spent time among chickens, but it’s even worse to contemplate once you’ve seen them in action. At least Ruby’s was done fairly evenly; not all are even that lucky.
For Ruby’s sake, for Carlyl’s sake, go vegan. They, and countless individuals like them, are the ones directly impacted by our food choices.