More Tales of Animal Buddies on the Homestead

article image
Photo by Fotolia/DerPaparazzo
Animal buddies on the farm can truly be a magical thing to witness and could possibly bring a new perspective to your own life.

Back in February, our Facebook fans shared stories of animal friendships they’ve witnessed at their home or farm. If you’re anything like us, one dose of those stories was not enough. Once again, our Facebook fans came through with tales of mismatched animal buddies. From wild raccoons and feral cats, to nursing cows and bossy nanny goats, we’re charmed by these accounts of interspecies love from every corner of the barnyard.

Are you on Facebook? Follow MOTHER EARTH NEWS Magazine to find even more great ideas and conversations like the one below. Learn more about our Facebook presence and how to use this cool social tool to best connect with us.

Julie Bishop Bredimus I recently had a Barred Rock hen that had a run-in with our Great Pyrenees (who was being nothing but friendly in his playful, aggressive way). As a result, the hen couldn’t walk very well. The chickens are in a house that is closed tight each night, and in the morning the house is opened and the birds are free to wander. One loyal red hen never left her injured friend’s side during her convalescence. I’m happy to report everyone is now doing well.

Savage Monroe As a child, my parents got a dog for us to love and a cat for rodent control. The dog ended up not giving two hoots about us children, and the cat ended up being the pet of a lifetime! Our cat would follow us everywhere (yes, even crossing creeks!) and protect us from strange dogs whom she felt were threatening. She was loyal, loving, protective and the pride and joy of all of our hearts. The dog ended up being a useless bag of bones, and the cat ended up being the dream pet. It’s funny how life works out sometimes.

Ashlee Herold One of our calves would wander over to our draft horse, Lexy, while his mom was getting milked. When the calf first walked through the gate, Lexy walked away while the calf trailed after her. Now the calf’s mom and Lexy are best buddies. Lexy gives us hugs, and she even wraps her huge neck around the calf. I have even watched them chase each other around the pasture. It’s so adorable to see a huge draft horse be so gentle with a tiny Jersey calf.

Jean M. Haigh Holland When I was very young and my parents were just starting their own farm, we fixed a place in the garage for runt pigs. Our gold tomcat would cuddle with the piglets under the heat lamp, even after the piglets outgrew him. He probably did this for the warmth, but it’s a sweet memory for me.

Rebeca Impson Glvoer I used to have a baby goat, a dog, two kittens, a hen and a rooster. I would find them all huddled together in the horse shed taking a nap. I thought it was one of the loveliest things I had ever seen!

Marcus Rawls We had a chicken named “Josey Wales” of all things. My neighbor had a duck that would visit with my fenced-in chicken for hours. Long story short, we had one heck of a rain one night, a real toad soaker. That duck and chicken stayed side-by-side at the fence all night; they never left each other! It really tugged at my heart strings.

Janette JohnsonWe had a mother beagle that took an orphaned piglet into her litter, nursed and raised him. The piglet thought he was a dog, and we kept him all his life as a pet. He was a great “guard dog.”

Marie Elisabeth Cader I had a French bulldog named Donna. She was old when my cat gave birth to a liter of kittens. One afternoon, Donna gently took a kitten, sat down and put the baby close to her, as if she wanted to feed him. She stayed there without moving — and with her eyes closed — for a long time. She might have been remembering the time when she was a mum, too. It was truly moving to see, and now that Donna has passed away I like to remember her on that day. She was my girl, and a fantastic friend.

Jody Fox We had a hen who thought she was a cow. She roosted on the cows and would try to moo with them. She ate their feed and pecked at the ground in the pasture, but never got stepped on.

Alice Lincoln We had a cat that “raised” several children, mothered a baby goat, and was constantly taking over the raising of baby chicks. She even “mothered” the neighbor’s cat-killing guard dog! She is the only cat he didn’t kill. The big dog would sigh, lie down, and hold still until that tiny runt calico cat got done washing his face and ears. Then he’d let her bully him to his bed for a long nap, where the calico used HIM as a mattress.

Jessi Lynn Bell When our golden retriever, Eddie, was a tiny pup, he was so light blonde he was almost white. One day, while out in the back, we couldn’t find him. He was only 7 weeks old, so we were worried. We had let all the poultry out to free range in the fields that day, including our seven Nicholas White turkeys, which were about 2 months old. The turkeys were sitting in a big pile out in the pasture, basking in the sun and dozing. Right in the middle of the pile was Eddie, so fluffy and white and about the same size as the turkeys that he blended right in.

Heidi Duncanson We had a dog named Happy who kindly cared for an orphaned raccoon, Zoro. They would often snuggle together under my desk. I think Happy enjoyed all the facial massaging and ear cleanings that Zoro gave her! It was too cute.

Robin L. Felz Early last spring we had a goat that birthed four babies. One had already died by the time the second was being born; the second was extremely tiny and frail. While the mother was having the other babies, we brought the second, frail baby in out of the cold. My male kelpie/border collie mix, who is 8 years old, cleaned the afterbirth and washed and dried that baby and stayed by its side for several days. If he could have nursed that baby he would have. I love my dog, but he is an extremely “all about me” dog, so I was amazed at his tender loving care and the compassion he showed for the baby goat. We found a good home for that baby goat when it got older.

Tammy Noble Wood My husband brought home an abandoned baby deer that the vet thought was approximately 9 days old. The fawn, who we named Bud, was absolutely covered in ticks and had infections in both eyes. I struggled to get him to eat, and he finally ate some banana and then nursed from a bottle. My sweet, 106-pound Rottweiler named Maggie helped me raise Bud for almost a year. They rode together in the van, slept together and even played together. Maggie became very protective of her “charge” that became bigger and swifter than her. They are both buried side by side now, next to the creek where we found Bud. I have such sweet memories of them both.

Barb Shutiak My newfie/lab mix loves to swim. Last summer, I joined her in the backyard pool and noticed a large dragonfly zooming across the pool. Ebony, my dog, saw it too and she swam after it. The dragonfly flew away to the edge of the pool and hovered, watching and waiting. Ebony swam over to the dragonfly, and it would flit off again and hover. It always flew to the edge of the pool and hovered. I wish I’d had my camera to film it. This went on for a good ten minutes; it was amazing to watch.

Sara Sweatman My son developed kidney disease when he was 3 years old. Because of immune issues, his doctors said it would be too dangerous to be around people. He was getting really sad and lonely. His doctor said it was OK for him to have pets, but they had to be outside. We decided to start raising chickens and my son has hatched several chicks of his own. He’s now 10 years old and still fighting. He’s still home schooled, and it’s common to find him in the hammock with a chicken snuggled under each arm.

Sandi Carey Kuehl We had a couple of baby squirrels that were knocked out of a felled tree. We had to syringe feed them because their eyes weren’t open yet. One of our cats had just had a litter, and she would lick the squirrels while they were being fed. I put one of the squirrels up to her breast to see what she would do, and she nudged the squirrel until it started nursing. I would let her nurse the squirrels a couple of times a day as they grew up. When the squirrels were old enough — and could crack nuts — I released them.

Megan McDonald We had a raccoon that was best friends with my black lab. They swam together, ate together and even slept next to each other. The raccoon was very protective of his dog.

Donita Stark-Moody My daughter had a young gelding quarter horse and a female Rottweiler mix. The animals would play together out in the pasture, running, chasing, and bucking. To an outsider it may have looked like the dog was bothering the horse, but no! They just loved each other and that’s how they played.

Leigh Ashcraft I live in the country of New York and my home is on 10 acres. I have raised big constrictor snakes for 51 years, and my deaf, rescued cat gets along great with all of my snakes. They curl up together on my bed and bask in the sun together. The cat protects the snakes. They play tag, and they’ve never had a bad day between them. They are so close that my cat even gets up several times a night to check on each snake!

Rick McIntyre We got a visit from the game warden, who said everything was OK as long as Juno was not caged. Pretty soon, however, the little horns started appearing and nature took its course. Juno started getting a little aggressive. We couldn’t take a chance on him injuring someone, so we took him as far back into the wilderness as we could, hoping he would stand a chance and not get hunted. At least we got to give him several great years of life on a farm, whereas he probably wouldn’t have survived long on his own. It was a great experience.

Debbie King Our family dog, Rushia, watches over our little girl when she’s out playing on the property. He follows her around like a mother hen. He waits patiently for her when she checks for eggs in the chicken coop and when she feeds and waters our mini donkey and pygmy goats. Rushia is always right by our daughter’s side for any adventure she has dreamed up for the day, whether it be sledding down the big hill together, pretending Rushia is a sled dog, digging in the dirt, chasing voles or squirrels or just laying in the grass together.

This summer our daughter’s old horse had to be put down. It was hard! We didn’t know exactly what to say or do, but Rushia knew to lay by her side and he patiently waited as our daughter sat quietly out in the grassy field where her horse once stood. Rushia is our daughter’s protector, her playmate, her listening ear and her best friend. I know he would give his life for her; he’s that intent on keeping her safe and happy.

Ronda Clark I rescued one of my llamas from a petting zoo. She never wanted to be touched by people again. Her name is Baby Spitz. As much as she disliked people, however, she loved it when the baby goats were born! She would lie in the field and let the kids run up and down her back; all the while she nuzzled them.

Karen Kelley We had a dog on our ranch that was half wolf, and she adopted two orphaned baby goats. The dog, Niki, would reluctantly let me in her den so I could give the goats a bottle. Niki took very good care of her kids.

Michele Kinlay Rixon We have two roosters and two rabbits in our stable yard. They have paired up, meaning two rooster and rabbit mixed pairs! On Sunday, I watched as one of the roosters was touching his rabbit’s cheek with his beak and the rabbit reciprocated by gently licking the rooster’s wattle. It was amazing to watch!

Vickie Wallace Wilson I had a few chickens, but my dog was killing them one by one. I found my favorite chicken sleeping on top of a white goat for safety. They were a cute couple.

Rebekah Devismes My wolf dog named USA helped raise orphan goats by standing still with a milk bottle secured to him. He would then lick the goats clean after they fed. He’d sleep with the goats and protect them. USA has helped raise many farm critters. Wolves are great parents and older siblings to all their pack family!

Honey Candles Years ago, my husband found a lost Canada goose gosling. He brought it home because he knew we had a bunch of ducklings hatching in an incubator. Because the goose was so much bigger than the ducklings I was afraid to let them be together in the same box. I put the goose in a box by itself and placed his box next to the ducklings. It wasn’t long before the goose bailed over the side, and when I came back to check on them the ducklings were all perched on top of the wild goose looking very happy. That’s how it stayed until the goose grew up and flew away.