Monday, November 16, 2009

"Deerly" De-parted..

Deer Season (rifle, anyway...) in Nebraska, opened up this past Saturday (14th of November). Already, we have 4 tasty deer in our freezer. We don't let them hang to spoil the taste, we just process them right off, and into the freezer or jars, they go.

Nothing better the FRESH meat, be it deer, chicken, turkey, or cow.

This also means that the dogs, cats, and birds, are also getting some much needed "fat" in their diet for the coming winter. We clean up the deer carcases as best we can, then toss them out for everyone to enjoy.

We've found out, over the years, that chickens are the best at cleaning up a pile of bones. They will pick (or is that PECK....?) one side of a ribcage clean in just a couple of days, then I roll it over so they can work on the other side. The two LGD guard dogs will work on them for awhile, then leave it for something else, only coming back when they HAVE to.

With 4 deer (and more on the way), you have a LOT of "left over" scraps. Right now, even the little piggy Dachshunds are getting tired of deer. When we brought the first deer into the house, Rascal was right under foot, waiting for handouts. If one missed the bucket (accidentally or on purpose...), he'd snag it up in a second! He'd even "sneak" over and get the ones hanging on the rim of the bucket. He figures that if they are within reach, and hanging on the outside of the bucket, then they WANT him to get them.

Now, he comes to get a couple pieces, then goes back to bed in hopes of sleeping it off before Thanksgiving.....

The vultures.....er....chickens, are a little more bold. They don't worry about the "sneak" part - they come right out and EXPECT you to toss them something. One of the first things I do when skinning a deer, is cut off the front legs and toss them aside for the chickens. That way, they bother THEM, and not ME.

I tossed some scraps in with the turkeys and guineas - I even set a few pieces of fat in for the pigeons to tear up. Everyone was fat, dumb, and happy - especially FAT.

The LGD's told the goats that they were "on their own" for a few days. All either of them wanted to do was lounge around. They were even too lazy to come out of the small shed (which they are RARELY in...) to get more food. At first, they were guarding the bones, even from the pesky goats. Now, they'd let even the goats have at them. I think they are HOPING somebody steals them.

The cats get to dive into the pile I leave for the chickens. It's always interesting to see a cat trying to stand their ground, surrounded by hungry cat-killing birds - you're never QUITE sure who's gonna win. The cat pounces on the scrap, but can only defend against so many beaks at the same time. I usually give in and take some inside the barn especially for the cats - that way, they only need to growl at each other...

Since it was dark, cold, and raining last night when we finished up working on deer, I set the two scrap buckets in the back of the pickup. Everyone was tucked into their beds, anyway, so I figured to save it for morning. When morning came, after chores, I dumped the buckets in the usual spots so they could be devoured. I was surprised when only 3 chickens came over to eat.

On an ordinary day, The cats gather on a table by one of the freezers I store food in. Today was no different, in that respect. They gathered and watched me get food for Mabel, the dogs, the goats, and the two calves out of the freezers. I TOTALLY forgot to feed the kitties.....

It wasn't until about half way through milking that I looked up, and saw the four cats piled on the table, waiting for food. Very apologetically, I got up, opened the freezer, got my scoop full of cat food, and dumped it into their pan. The expected "feeding frenzy' was a total dud. NONE of the cats even LOOKED at the pan. All were still Stuffed to the gills with deer.

I even had some fresh deer for breakfast. I had homegrown eggs, fresh deer, homemade butter, and homemade bread.

We are still expecting 2-3 more deer this season, but what we have is a great start.

Our freezer is filling up, and so are our animals......

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