Things Writers Don’t Know About Farms

This is just a random list of lesser known things that writers from suburban or urban areas may not know about farms. This is inspired in part by a post about things writers don’t know about forests (I may try to find it and link to it later, it’s a good post for those unfamiliar with forests).

Roosters are unnecessary for egg production.

Turkeys can in fact, fly. Wild ones and heritage breeds anyway. They are just not very aerodynamic.

Coyote puppies sound eerily like human children that are shrieking in laughter, but they don’t sound quite human.

Chickens will happily catch and eat mice and snakes given half the chance.

Barn cats will go out in the rain if given enough reason to.

Barn fires are not started only by careless smokers, unattended lamps, or electrical short circuits. They can also be caused by hay spontaneously combusting because it was too wet when it was baled and stored.

Deer tend to move about in the early morning and late evening. If they are active at a different part of the day, or seeking shelter when they would normally be feeding, it can indicate bad weather is coming.

Pigs can be friendly, but they can also be extremely vicious.

Billy goats are very, very smelly.

Dairy animals must be bred and give birth in order to start producing milk. They are eventually allow to dry out and then are “freshened” by breeding them again.

Mules and donkeys are not so much stubborn as extremely smart. Mules are larger than donkeys and have a smoother coat, they also come in a wider variety of colors than donkeys. Mules have larger ears, a lower headset, and a wispier tail than horses do.

This is hardly an exhaustive list, but it was what I could come up with today. If people are interested I can do more of these, or I can answer specific questions. If you want to avoid the tropes “all animals are dogs” and “somewhere an equestrian is crying”, you could do worse than to ask me a few questions.


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