After my last visit to my friend's farm a lot has been happening, production-wise. When I arrived the first thing that met my attention was the wonderful show of sunflowers in the farm garden., although my friend told me they were not standing so upright any more.
The next step was into the farmhouse where she showed me the newest production in kittens. Some time ago she kept one of the male kittens, Diego, to become the new stud cat and he is doing his job so well that there were still 3 kittens left from the last litter aged 10 weeks who were just going to their new families. A new litter arrived a couple of weeks ago and they were laying next to mama cat in a washing basket, especially altered to fit the new babies and their mother cat. While I was there, Diego decided to join his new family in the basket. Mama cat wasn't having anything like that and hissed at Diego and lauched her paw out to drive him away. Diego decided it would be too risky to stay in the basket and left mama cat to her kittens.
The next cat that approached me was Kimberley, a white Persian with a black face. She sort of waddled around as she is now expecting kittens from Diego in a couple of weeks. It seems that Diego is so succesful with his production, that now and again he has visits from female cats to continue the Persian cat race in Switzerland. Here a a couple of photos of the latest results. The first two are from the births before last and the third shows one of the kittens of the last birth
After leaving the kittens we made our way to the chicken/guinea pig/hedgie barn, each animal being in its own pen with plenty of room to walk around in. On the way we met Bessie the labrador who had already given birth to two litters of puppies. She was again looking for a man, but my friend said enough is enough, after having 22 puppies to give away over the years, Bessie must now learn that her family days were over.
Eventually we arrived at the barn and the chickens being the noisiest inhabitants I naturally had to take a photo.
There were many hens, all having the purpose in their chicken lives of laying eggs. What a fertile place a farm is. The guinea pigs were just relaxing and not being very active and then I met the reason for my visit.
Hedgehogs are now getting very popular as pets and I heard that in the States they are quite fashionable. They are not the normal hedgehogs to be found in the fields or unfortunately on the roads at night, but the white belly hedgehogs. They are smaller than the usual hedgehog and very friendly. You can pick them up and stroke them and are basically very easy to keep. However, as a pet they do have the disadvantage that they are nocturnal creatures and not very active during the day. The hedghogs on the farm are kept under a slate slanted onto the wall for support under which they like to sleep during the day. I also read that they should have enough space to live in which is the case at my friend's farm. She has three adult "hedgies" as they are commonly known, one is white and the others more sprinkled. They are not albino, but are just known for their white bellies.
Actually the reason why I went to visit this time was to see the babies. Apparently one of the hedgehogs was expecting but you just don't notice if a hedgehog is pregnant. One morning my friend went into the barn to see how they were doing and lo and behold there were three more tiny little hedhogs, each one about 8-10 centimetres long, but complete with spines. They are together with mummy hedgehog in their enclosure in the corner where the mother has made a sort of nest for them. I naturally got the camera ready. As most animals they don't sit still and pose for photos, so if the photos are a bit shaky, blame the hedgehogs.
After leaving the "hedgies" we walked across the farm and on the way the tortoise was sunning himself in his quarters. It was a nice day and he seemed to be enjoying the outdoor life.