Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A skunk and six kittens [Dairy Star Column]

Baby kittens are right up there at the top of the list of the best things about living on a dairy farm.

Skunks are right down there at the bottom of the list of the worst things about living on a dairy farm.

Last weekend, we had both.

We got a preview of what was to come on Friday night when the eau de skunk wafted into the barn during evening milking. I always hate knowing that there’s a skunk around, but not knowing exactly where it is. I’m sure I looked more than a little paranoid as I carried the bottles out to the bull calves in the hutches.

On Saturday night, the smell returned and so did the critter.

I was in the house putting the kids to bed while Glen finished chores, so I missed all of the action. The only sign I had that anything was happening outside came from Ozzy, our Australian Shepherd.

Anytime there’s something amiss outside, Ozzy will slip in through the front door the minute someone opens it. Ozzy is not a house dog by any means, so he is promptly escorted back outside. The kids would love to keep him inside, but his eau de barn is very strong and I’m afraid he’d quickly overheat in his ultra-shaggy coat.

On Saturday night, Ozzy zoomed into the house and I had to drag him back outside by his collar. Then, as soon as I closed the storm door, he rounded and was scratching on the door like he was possessed. Ozzy is a 75-pound dog; I thought he might actually do some damage if he continued. So I let him back in the house. I grabbed the baby gate to quarantine him in the entryway. At least then the whole house wouldn’t smell like hot barn dog.

When Glen got in, Ozzy’s demand for refuge in the house finally made sense.

Glen said he was letting cows out when he had a feeling he should check the machine shed for the skunk. It’s unreal how often this sixth sense of his is right.

[Read the rest of this column in the Dairy Star.]

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