When home feels more like a dysfunctional zoo

Lily Thomas with her pet lambs.
CARLY THOMAS/STUFF

Lily Thomas with her pet lambs.

Carly Thomas continues her chaotic journey since buying a grand old country house and garden in rural Manawatu.

Three more animals joined our motley crew this week. A trio of lambs rejected by their mums, their coats resembling dirty white socks, their noses perpetually nudging for milk.

They aren't exactly cute at this stage – they are kind of scrawny and wrinkly and needy. But the kids think they are the bee's knees and they spend every waking moment making them beds they promptly don't sleep in, and changing their names on a daily basis.

Walnut is the largest member of the Thomas zoo.
DAVID UNWIN/STUFF

Walnut is the largest member of the Thomas zoo.

It won't last. I'll soon be the one doing all the feeds and the lambs will soon be big enough to poo on my doorstep, just as the unruly chickens do.

I have never understood how other people have chickens that stay and lay where they should, and raise roosters that do what they're supposed to. 

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Lily Thomas is the No 1 chicken wrangler in the Thomas family.
CARLY THOMAS/STUFF

Lily Thomas is the No 1 chicken wrangler in the Thomas family.

Actually, none of my animals stay where they are put. Monkey the pony has a long, long history of being found in ridiculous places.

My ducks decided the neighbour's place was preferable and if I get one more phone call from the principal at school to say that my dog is tied up at the gate with a skipping rope, I might just die. 

It's not normal. My animals are everywhere. There is a mouse living in my car and I swear I counted five rabbits on the tennis court the other day. 

Humphrey, the Thomas family cat, lives a life of luxury.
CARLY THOMAS/STUFF

Humphrey, the Thomas family cat, lives a life of luxury.

As for the horses, well, where do I begin? I have never really paid for a horse. They tend to just be gifted. But they come with baggage. Jake is a beautiful weirdo. His racing name was Sausages. His legs are crooked and he has about five versions of a trot, but not many other gears.

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Walnut is as tall as a tree and after a career as a hunter, where he galloped and jumped his way through life, he has been retired into the Thomas clan. He should thank his lucky stars – today the creaky old man was treated to a massage. A massage, for goodness sake. I want a bloody massage.

I spend half my waking hours moving, cajoling, cleaning, talking to, feeding, picking up the consequences of feeding, and hiding the fact that I spend a small fortune on these squatters. But would I change it? No.

The kids are outside now, feeding the lambs. It's 9pm. They should be in bed, but instead are discussing why their little orphans' poos are yellow.

I write this with one cat on my foot, another practically on my head, and there really is only one way to conclude. My dysfunctional zoo is actually quite maddeningly marvellous.

 - Stuff

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