Our Facebook fans share with us these wonderful tales of animal valentines and special friendships.
Animal Valentines on the homestead can reaffirm our simple belief that love can blossom anywhere!
Photo by Fotolia/ksuksa
This heartwarming story of a pig that adopted a lamb got us thinking about homestead-based love stories. We asked our Facebook fans if they have ever observed these specials gestures from these animal valentines on their homesteads.
Whether the goat that adopted a gaggle of baby geese or a maternal donkey that looks after a herd of sheep, we wanted to hear your stories of love and affection that originated on the farm. Our fans responded with dozens of beautiful stories of these special friends, some of which we’ll share with you!
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Laura Sirois Maine farm girl here. I had a little black duck as a kid who would sit on her eggs for eons. They would never hatch because there was no male. We had geese also. The female goose would always abandon her eggs before they hatched so we switched out the eggs one year. What a sight, a little black duck parading her newly hatched baby geese for the world to admire. She raised several gaggles!
Andrea TenBrink Growing up on a ranch in Idaho, we had a cat that passed and left a litter behind. Our male Doberman took each into his doghouse and slept with them to protect and keep them warm. He guarded them until they were old enough to run around the barnyard on their own. It was amazing and I will never forget it after all of these years. Purely an act of compassion.
Daynnell Renae Smith In April my husband brought me a turkey poult. I wasn't sure what I would do with him at first. All I had ever heard was that turkeys were mean, stupid birds.
But I set him up in a brooder and fed him and tickled him and acted like mom. I eventually named him Franklin. He grew really fast and he'd sit in my lap and watch TV, he'd drink the bathwater while my toddler bathed. He'd follow me around the homestead.
It turns out that turkeys aren't mean or stupid at all. He'd tease the dog and the cat. Franklin would call for me with one particular call. To say I got attached to him is an understatement. I loved that bird and we really bonded. I was a little bit of a legend among friends and family with my pet turkey. No one had ever heard of a pet turkey.
Unfortunately he fell sick at the end of the summer. I spent three weeks nursing him, I learned to give injections and I know more about turkey diseases than I ever wanted to. I literally got help from all over the world trying to save Franklin. But in the end we had to put him down. He started back downhill and I didn't want him to suffer. He had no chance of survival given his recurrence of symptoms.
I buried him under my favorite tree and built a rock garden in his memory. I've had a lot of animals, loved them all, but none of them ever loved me as much as Franklin did.
Amanda Davis Our Great Dane also took in a little fawn whose mother had been hit. She would let him nurse on her and everything!
Jeff Vandervort I drive a truck. Last week, I passed a meadow with a herd of cattle, about 2 dozen deer and 6 or so wild pigs. What really caught my attention was a young deer and a young cow playing with each other. They were running around almost chasing each other and kicking their legs, then stopping to stare each other down before starting again.
Brynna Councell Schiller We had a cat that was like the local midwife. She attended the births, often doing the cleaning of kittens and helping the mother kitties get started. On occasion the mother (usually first timers and young moms) would be bad and birth all over the yard & abandon or attack the babies. She would take over raising the kittens. I remember her also teaching other cats how to hunt mice & frogs. She was very special.
Jackie Knapp Talley When my hound Stella was a pup, she found a baby squirrel no bigger than a piece of bubblegum. We raised "Rocky" in a crate in our dining room, taking turns doing the eyedropper feeding. Stella was important to his socialization and raising! Eventually we trained him to forage for his own food, and over several weeks took him outside and kept a watchful eye on him as he explored the habitats of other squirrels. Rocky hung around the back yard for about a decade, and left us with many generations of grand-squirrels!
Mike Lowe We had a farm dog who (when she thought you were not watching) would let the farm cats sleep over, under, and around her. She would lick them and nuzzle them as if they were her own right up until she saw you. She would then spring up, bark, and act as if you didn't see her being nice to cats. Loved that dog!
Margaret O'Brien My granddad was cutting a hay field and ran over a nest of baby skunks. Just one survived and he brought it home and gave it to a mama cat with kittens. She nursed and cared for it like one of her own. Her name was Flower and we had her de-skunked. She was one of the best house pets ever.
Norma Resner We rescued an orphaned foal that was also abused. He was too sick and weak to put out with the big horses, but he couldn't be alone. We put him in a pen with an old nanny goat for company. She has had several kids so she took over as mommy for the foal. She would stand on her hind legs and push him to the back of the pen at night and then tap on him with her front hooves until he lay down. When he got healthier and got naughty she would rear up and butt him in the side until he behaved. The other day she was laying in the sun dozing and he stood behind her very gently nibbling up and down along her back as a caress. They love each other.
Aubrey Schroeder We have a 3 legged goat that kidded a doeling last winter. Our little mini mare stood watch over her while she birthed. As the kid grew, her and our mini became inseparable and the goat would ride through the pasture on the horse. Our 5 year Morgan gelding is always close to our 3 legged goat, protects her so she can eat with ease and grooms her. Animals are so amazing!
AshTree Noel We had a rooster who looked after a litter of kittens. He perched on a railing above them at night and laid with them and followed them around during the day. He also ran off any of the other animals if they got too close!
Teresa Furches Cook We had a Jersey cow, in milk, who adopted an orphan lamb. The bottle-fed lamb saw me milk one morning, started sniffing around, and just latched on. The cow even groomed her. If they got separated, they would call to each other until reunited. To this day, the ewe prefers cows to other sheep.
Kathleen West I wish I still had the photo. Our donkey and dog got along terribly. The donkey would kick at the dog. The dog would growl and snap at the donkey. We came home one day to find them laying next to each other. My question has always been — who laid down first, the dog or the donkey?
Sandra Crutcher years ago I had a beautiful 30+ yr old Buckskin Gelding that used to kidnap all the babies and yearlings and take them off to another pasture. He loved the babies, and the mares finally got used to it and took advantage of the built in babysitter. He was a wonderful soul. Nature is amazing!
Ellen Polzien When I was growing up on a farm, my dad would occasionally put abandoned fertile duck eggs under a broody chicken. The chickens were always great moms to the ducklings, but I did feel a little sorry for them when the ducklings inevitably made for the water. The little things would be swimming happily in a drainage ditch while their adoptive mothers paced and squawked in alarm from the edge of the water! But then the ducklings would jump out and rejoin the hens for more chickenly activities. By the time the ducks became adolescents the species sorted themselves out in the barnyard.
Brandon Faarup In the 90s when I was a kid we had a golden retriever (Katie) and a cat. Well the dog had puppies and a few weeks later the mom had kittens but the mom died. Katie would let the kittens nurse on her. She was a very sweet protective dog.
Diann Gaines Love between animals on the farm? I guess you could call it affection between my son's chickens and goats. He had put the chickens into a stall in the goat barn while they were little to help keep them away from the very aggressive rooster and a snake that was invading the hen house from time to time. After they got bigger and the rooster allowed them to roam around without pecking on them he moved them back to the chicken pen. That night he heard a lot of noise coming from by the chicken pen...chicken and goat noises (the goat pen is adjacent to the chicken pen. He thought there was another snake, but when he got down there the chickens where on one side of the fence and the goats on the other trying to get through the fence and calling to each other. So he took the chickens and put them back in the goat pen, then watched in amazement as the goats laid down and the chickens snuggled up to them and they all went to sleep.
Kimberly Sanders I thought my cat was just getting warmth from the incubator. She stood vigil until all the eggs hatched. When I moved the peeps to a box to go to a permanent location she tried to lay with them. When they were no longer on the kitchen she bawled for a day and sat on a bushel of cucumbers instead.
Jodi Schafer I had a feral cat that lived in our pig barn on the farm. On day she came up to me as I sat on the back porch and dropped one of her 3 week old kittens in my lap. It had lost part of a front leg to a trap or other animal and she had brought to the house to be taken care of. I raised Tripod to 10 weeks of age and then she was adopted by one of my high school class mates. I know she lived a very happy and healthy life thanks to her momma. That momma never came to the house again, as she was completely wild.
Kay Collins Years ago we had a little black poodle named Sugar. We had some baby chicks hatching and my husband brought them inside as they hatched and put them in a box so the momma wouldn't leave the rest of the eggs to get cold. I heard a noise in the box and I looked to see Sugar in the box with the chicks trying to get them to nurse! She stayed in the box and 'mothered' them!
Whitney M. Amos We have three guinea fowl running around on our farm (there were once many more). We'll look out at them running through the pasture and see four — the fourth one is one of the farm cats with similar coloring. They go everywhere together. I'm not sure if the cat is protecting them or identifying with them. Likely both.
Michelle Greene I used to have a goat who when she was pregnant would decide to guard the dogs because she knew that they were not supposed to go out of the yard. The bad part was that the dogs got to sleep in the house at night and she had a little barn to sleep in! She started knocking on the door at night to be let in and sleep with the dogs. She slept in the house until she had triplets and then she stayed in her little barn with her babies.
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