|Blog – A new direction|
|Written by Jodi Ruckley|
|Thursday, 14 July 2011 22:31|
I guess it has taken me many months to work up the courage to move Our Place on Earth forward to its next stage, and it seems that “The Journey Home” provided insights, stamina and strength to make that happen. For the longest time I have felt to work as a team with farm animals, to work towards animal rights and equality. I like the idea of working with animals for animal rights, rather than on behalf of them. I also believe they have an amazing amount of insight to share; like I learnt when I researched my book “Through the eyes of a cow”; that cows have great ideas of living in harmony with each other and the planet, so it just makes sense to me that creating a place where non-human animals and humans can live in harmony will be done best in collaboration with all parties concerned.
I have also mentioned before that I wanted a pig, a cow and a chicken to be on the committee for Our Place on Earth, but unfortunately, this is illegal. However, in essence of course it can happen, that I work very closely with a team of non-human animals to make decisions and determine strategy.
On Friday 1st July, the day before the Welcome Home Party, in the late afternoon, a group (Leigh-Chantelle, Jess, Lara, Sundara, Wayne and I) of us headed down to Myocum and picked up David, who at that stage was an unwanted male calf from a dairy farm. He had been unable to drink from his mother due to her having dropped udders and unlike most calf’s had not taken to drinking milk from another cow instead. He was 2 weeks old and being bottle-fed. John the farmer lifted him into the back of Jenny’s car, Jess climbed I’m in with him and we headed back to our temporary home ‘Three Worlds’ at Byron Bay. Jess said he fell asleep in her lap almost immediately, a seemingly importantly part of his personality from Day 1, being very relaxed, cuddly and cruisy. He settled into the straw under a marquee and was lathered with attention, (and a blanket to keep him warm). He has enjoyed interacting with a variety of people ever since, winning many hearts with his toothy grin, only shown on special occasions. Most important for him is to be part of a large family.
Monday morning, 4th July at 7.30am I headed to a hatchery (for meat chickens) with Anton and Wayne. I had already arranged to pick up a chick. I kept saying ‘he’ but also kept thinking a ‘she’ would be so much easier. The woman asked me if I would like two, I agreed, thinking another who avoids the destiny of living for 6 weeks on a broiler farm and ending up at the chicken abattoir is a great thing. She asked what sex and I replied quickly one of each. Immediately I thought, ‘doh’ now I will end up with a bunch of baby chicks, and I really want to be rescuing chickens, rather than breeding. So when she came back I asked, “Could you take the male back please”, then changed my mind very quickly and said “No”, thinking how could I send him back to that fate. So Hannah and Tom were placed in a box, with a heat pad added in the car to keep them nice and warm. These guys had been born or hatched just the night before; we could not believe how big they were. The size of the eggs must have been enormous – scary stuff what they do to chickens these days. Hannah and Tom are both very sweet. They love each other to bits, and love the mothering of anyone around them, they will happily follow Wayne around the grass and Hannah enjoys a lick from David. They outgrew their first box after a day, flying out very easily. They love exploring the grass outside and being in the sunshine, but also love the security of being with someone. They have many different cries for expressing their different needs.
The whole atmosphere changed when Lily the piglet came to join us last Friday 8th July. Sheila and I picked her up from a large piggery of 2250 pigs, at just 4 weeks of age; just recently weaned from her mother. She screamed most of the way home and also on arrival at Byron Bay. It was clear that she had already experienced a traumatised life. Unlike the others, she felt weary of human company. Running in the grass, and exploring the yard helped her settle down, and she took to food and water very easily. As it started to get dark, I picked her up (resulting in her screaming), took her inside and wrapped her up in a blanket in a box and put a warm doggy jumper on her. She fell asleep instantly and did not wake up until 4am the next morning. I took her outside, and she went down to the back of the yard to go to the toilet, then she had some food and a nice drink. I waited with her to wander and planned to take her back inside after about 30 minutes. I went back inside for a few minutes, then went back out and noticed I could no longer hear her soft snorting. I looked everywhere, including the streets outside and could not find her anywhere. I had checked the fencing the day before and ensured there was nowhere she could get out. Part of me starting panicking, but I got a feeling to trust her and her own instincts to keep her safe, and go to bed. All I could think about was the cold and how she would handle it. I slept fitfully for a couple of hours, then rose with the sunrise and started searching again. She was nowhere to be found in the yard, or anywhere around Byron Bay. I felt so awful and started planning how to find her. I mentally was thinking of making signs and putting an announcement on local radio. I headed back to prepare. 8am hit and all of a sudden I hear snorting in the yard. Lily is walking around the yard looking most pleased with herself. I felt her and she was very warm. I was so happy to see her.
She has shown very clearly she has a strong will, and knows exactly what she wants. She adores David, and will snuggle up with him in the straw in the day, and loves playing with Rhythm (the puppy who lives here) or chewing on Wayne’s collar. She happily allowed David to suckle on her ear today.
Tomorrow we start moving to our more permanent, temporary home, a friend’s property at Wilson’s Creek. This has always been the plan, get to know them first, find out what they like and then make a wiser decision on what will suit all of our needs, in terms of choosing a property to live for the long term. A tipi is the choice of shelter for this first couple of months as they are all young, its winter and tipi’s are easy to keep warm, have found a great one and bought it, yeahh.
Please join me in welcoming David, Tom, Hannah and Lily to Our Place on Earth. I look forward to all they have to share and to getting to know all of their wishes and desires J