Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Deprived and the Not-So-Deprived

Hubby had to do all the chores and irrigating last night, since I was on the bi-monthly pilgrimage to Billings, Montana, to pick up a round bale feeder and vacuum cleaner and to stock up on cheap groceries. He called with an AAR (animal accommodation report) as I was headed home.

·         Hubby brought the goats into the barn and fed them, but they protested loudly until he figured out that they didn’t like the stemmy hay that he’d given them. He gave them some leafy alfalfa; they shut up.
·         He let the cat in and deposited him in front of a reasonably full bowl of cat food. The cat wouldn’t eat, however, and meowed pitifully until Hubby remembered me saying that Smokey insists on a scoop of fresh food at every meal. (Not only that, but, once a day, he orders up a side of dog kibble or biscuits.)

The cows, horses, and dogs were more agreeable and, for once, didn’t lobby for more than they were given.

For a few glorious weeks in late summer, we humans feast on sweet corn while the bovines devour sweet corn shucks, cobs, and stalks. When the corn disappeared, I rotated the cows to another pasture which was lush from irrigation and rest. One would think that the herd would be satisfied with green grass up to their knees, but not so—early the next morning they showed up, looking for their sweet corn breakfast!

Son Zach, who is on a year-long Rotary student exchange to Jamnagar, India, tells us that our animals don’t know how good they have it compared to that of animals in his city. Dogs and cats aren’t kept as pets; chickens, pigs, goats and water buffalo aren’t kept on a farm. No one feeds them. They run wild, subsisting on what they glean from the garbage dumps or their fellow gleaners. Disease (most of the dogs suffer from mange) and parasites are the norm.

Maybe we should send our over-indulged animals overseas to see how their Indian brethren are getting along in the garbage dumps. When they return, they might not be so quick to fuss if their meals are not 5-star rated or, heaven forbid, five minutes late!

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