I keep telling myself I do not need any critter responsibilities. But my fantasy farm, the one in my fertile imagination, always includes lambs and chickens, with perhaps a cat or two.
A recent issue of Country Garden magazine had a picture of a Babydoll Southdown lamb on the cover wearing a cornflower blue ribbon around its neck. The owners kept two babydolls to trim the grass and eat the weeds in their garden. How idyllic does that sound!
Babydolls are smaller than your usual sheep and are known for their teddy bear face. Out of curiosity I googled the average cost. For a ewe it is about $400. They must also be sheared once a year. Great, I thought. Lots of wool for pillows and needle felting projects! In my saner moments I know caring for sheep requires the right fences and pens and is more demanding and expensive than owning a cat or dog. After losing our last cat, Misty, I said to self–no more cats. What am I thinking? But just look at that face.
How about chickens? Chickens can be free-range. They provide fresh eggs. They are decorative as well as useful. Just put them up at night and protect from predators. I know there is more to it than that because my grandmother kept chickens and they were a lot of work. Plus, my husband despises chickens. His dislike goes back to having to gather eggs for his grandmother, who also kept chickens. Who didn’t in those days of farm families… He said they pooped and pecked. I cannot deny that they do. I told him chickens must be socialized so they do not peck. He looked at me strangely.
So I guess my mini Eden in the back yard will have to do with visiting Canada geese, migrating ducks, and about 6 muskrats in the pond. The upside? They feed themselves.