I love morning chores around The Wallow. They get me up and moving. I love having animals to care for, because they constantly pull me towards motion and life, both when I can most enjoy it and when I most need it.
What are the chores, you ask?
The pigs are the biggest reason I get outside in the morning. The pigs simply have to eat. Their whole job is to eat and get bigger, and they get really upset if I am late with the feed bucket!
- Fill up a bucket of feed to take to the pigs. If there’s no feed currently mixed up, mix some up. This involves dumping a 50 lb bag of corn into a Rubbermaid container, weighing out 13 lbs of feed concentrate, stirring the two until they’re well mixed.
- Turn off the pigs’ electric fence, hop in the pig pen, and empty the feed into the individual feed pans, all while dodging snorting, squealing, frantically excited pigs. They do love meal time!
- Touch each pig. Pigs love ear scritches and belly scritches, and I love it when they are used to my touch so I can easily measure them on weigh days.
- Clean out and refill the water bowl. If we’re using the big waterer, I just have to check that it isn’t low.
- Check the pig fence to see that it’s all in order, especially if it’s been raining. Sometimes I might have to pick up some sections of fence to clear the dirt the pigs have rooted onto it. It’s usually all okay, though.
- When I’m over feeding the pigs I check on their water and fill it if needed. They don’t drink very much water, so it only needs to be topped off every couple of days or so.
- If I’m feeling generous (or if a ewe is pregnant) I toss a handful of corn into the old hay feeder that still has some hay remnant in it. The sheep immediately get busy digging around in the hay for the yummy corn.
- We used to have to let the chickens out of the coop in the morning, but they are free-range now, as are the ducks.
- Put out a scoop of feed. The chickens could probably get by without, but the ducks really put up a fuss if there isn’t feed available. The chickens benefit from the yummy, too, and they eagerly come running whenever they see us.
- Look around for eggs.
- Top off the duck pond if it needs it.
- Feed the pigs again and check their water.
- Let the sheep out to graze. We haven’t been doing this lately, because Buck has been in a mood, and it’s hard to manage a ram in a mood!
- Do bigger projects, like moving the pigs to another paddock which involves resetting the fence netting.
Different seasons bring different tasks. Spring finds me screening compost in the evenings, and both of us will be busy with our gardens. Bringing in wood to heat our home is about to be a regular daily task. Summer involves a lot more food preservation tasks.
These tasks vary a bit from day to day. Plus, there’s two of us to do them, so sometimes it’s me, sometimes it’s Joshua, and sometimes we do them together. I’ve been pretty regularly getting up to do the morning chores lately, and I really enjoy the routine.