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Animal Husbandry [RGRE]

By Rhorse
Created: 18th December 2020 09:30:01 AM

  1. >Be Fauna
  2. >You see this wayward stallion while closing up shop.
  3. >You've heard about him, barely being able to even whicker like a normal pony. But it's not just his sounds or speech patterns.
  4. >He's... odd. Everything about him is.
  5. >Seeing him in person just reinforces that.
  6. >His ears are pinned but is also laying down with a hauntingly sad look, like a lost puppy.
  7. >His forelegs are crossed as if he's trying to hug himself but failing. He's also rocking back and forth while doing so.
  8. >General stuff you've seen isolated monkeys do for comfort, but with more success.
  9. >Then it hits you.
  10. >He's probably one of those ponies raised by wild animals that here are only wild tales of.
  11. >Your ears swivel around as you keep an eye out for anypony else.
  12. >Nopony, good.
  13. >Letting out a soft whicker, you try to call out for him.
  14. >He just stares at you, unblinking.
  15. >"Want move, Pony?" He says in an oddly melodic yet gravelly accent.
  16. >It's surprising how he's started to pick up speech by himself. If your hunch is right, that is.
  17. >Sure enough you're able to coax him into your clinic with a piece of salmon jerky, a treat only your predatory animals would find appetizing.
  18. >His tail lashes awkwardly, and his now preened wings flap weakly out of sync when you scrub him down, but he doesn't make too much of a fuss.
  19. >In fact he doesn't have an ounce of aggression in him, nothing like what you've heard.
  20.  
  21. >Giving him more salmon jerky, apples, and berries you cover him with a blanket and seat him in a box in the corner of your office.
  22. >With luck he'll stay there until morning and you can get him proper help.
  23.  
  24. ----
  25.  
  26. >You make a beeline for your office at a very rushed pace.
  27. >A smart pony would have checked on the possibly wild stallion first instead of picking up breakfast.
  28. >Stupid mare.
  29. >For all you know, the omnivorous stallion could have broken into the back and eaten some of the smaller sick animals.
  30. >Closing the distance, you're welcomed with the sound of shattering glass.
  31. >You hesitantly step inside, blowing some stray hair out of your eyes.
  32. >The first thing that greets you is the array of broken treat jars on the floor.
  33. >Then there's the wild stallion, on top of a counter seated on his haunches with a jar of wheat biscuit treats in his forelegs.
  34. >His muzzle in the jar, his wings once again flap weakly out of sink.
  35. >Again, he pins his ears and hunches down when he sees you.
  36. >Glances out the window are the only gesture you're sure he's not going to pummel you right away.
  37. >The treats spill out of his front hooves and join the others as it rolls off the counter.
  38. >Yep, should have come here first.
  39. >Slowly, you set your coffee down on the table next you you, before making yourself look smaller as you whicker.
  40. >Something you've found works against scared and injured predators.
  41. "Easy there, big guy, I'm not angry. Do you want to come down from there?"
  42. >The stallion responds to your soft tone, his head lifting higher as he slides off the counter.
  43.  
  44. >His wings drag on the floor as he approaches you head on in much the same way.
  45. "You were hobbling like a newborn foal last night, how you manage getting up there on your own?"
  46. >...Now that you're getting a good look at him, he's pretty easy on the eyes, if a bit skinny.
  47. >Time to fix that.
  48. "Come on, wheat isn't tasty for ponies. Wait until you have these hay doughnuts."
  49. >You slide the box on top of the examining table and gesture to it, tapping the surface with your hoof.
  50. "Up you go, boy."
  51. >He seems to understand the gesture and scurries up the side of the table, wings still awkwardly flapping as if they had a mind of their own.
  52. >But he doesn't dive toward the box.
  53. >You thought he would greedily dig into that too.
  54. "Go on, have as much as you want while I clean up," you coo, pushing the box toward him.
  55. >With a nod he gingerly picks one out of the box, and makes small nibbles out of it, his face twisting into an inequine grimace as he chews into it.
  56. >Strange that he doesn't seem to like it as much as the animal treats.
  57. >You'd think he'd take to pony food once he had some.
  58. >Is it the texture of the hay, sugar, or the fact that it's fried?
  59. >You scan the shelf of animal treats, then to the broken glass.
  60. >Seems like one of them was the salmon jerky, but there's no traces of it on the floor.
  61. >He must have emptied it before dropping the jar.
  62.  
  63. >The jar of unsweetened nut and berry granola treats for your rodents and birds seemed like it mostly emptied too, before crashing down on the floor with the others.
  64. >If the amount of other treats on the floor are anything to go by, he didn't take to those.
  65. >...At least you know what he does like.
  66. >To your surprise, the stallion hops off the table and pushes the waste bin towards you.
  67. >Seems he knows what some household items are for too.
  68. >Smart guy.
  69. >You take great care in getting the bigger pieces of glass into the bin, and the stallion slowly starts to mimic the way you move.
  70. >Every time you glance towards him, he cowers like a scared dog and stops, only to resume when you do.
  71. >You're worried he might cut himself, but discouraging this foal-like mimicking behavior might do more harm than good right now.
  72. >You do opt of sweeping the rest yourself though, as the stallion sits on his haunches, watching your every move.
  73. "All better, do you want to help me feed the animals?"
  74. >He stares again, no sign of understanding.
  75. >You hum to yourself, thinking back to last night.
  76. "Move."
  77. >Quicker than your eyes can follow, he climbs up the side of the examining table and hunches down, ears pinned.
  78. "Woah, there. It's alright big guy. I'm still not upset."
  79. >The words he does know were likely picked up from other ponies who didn't appreciate the turned over trash cans he left in his wake.
  80.  
  81. >You might be in over your hooves for this.
  82. "Come. Follow," you say undoing the latch for the back door, and slipping through.
  83. >"Come. Follow" he repeats in his strange accent, getting up to follow you.
  84.  
  85. ----
  86.  
  87. >He's still very uncoordinated, but you let him carry the feed bucket.
  88. >Your new friend seems to enjoy scooping some feeding pellets and things for the smaller animals.
  89. >The poor thing fumbles and spills some here and there, and his wings still threaten to knock the odd object over.
  90. >This time though, you're monitoring him close.
  91. >If he did make more of a mess you don't really mind.
  92. >His eagerness to help already makes him better company than most other stallions.
  93. >...Though you should bring him home next time instead of giving access to fragile equipment, at least until he gains a bit more motor control.
  94. >You're lucky he only got to cheap jars and treats.
  95. >You stop when you get to Rose, a scarlet macaw.
  96. >She's only staying for the weekend and isn't actually sick, making her prime material to be the stallion's second friend.
  97. >The owners were just afraid for her first molt and wanted to be sure.
  98. "Hello, beautiful, how are you feeling today? still itchy?"
  99. >"Honey, where's the Celestia scorned tinder box?," The bird replies in practiced response, scratching at the underside of her wings before folding them back up.
  100. >You can't help but chuckle.
  101. >It's more often than not these kinds of birds are a window into somepony's family life.
  102. >Whether they want it or not.
  103. >It takes make for some good inspiration.
  104. >Prying your stallion friend here for more words and phrases he can parrot should be first priority.
  105.  
  106. >It might give you a baseline of where he's been, and what he knows.
  107. >Maybe he even some kind of name, which would make trainin- TEACHING him much easier.
  108. >It would save you the effort of making one up yourself.
  109. >The stallion approaches slowly, flapping his wings unevenly, as if trying to mimic the bird's wing movements but doing the exact opposite instead.
  110. >He grunts and gives up before looking back at you.
  111. >Rose seems interested in your new friend here, climbing up to the cage door to observe him more closely.
  112. >His tail flicks here and there but he doesn't seem aggressive otherwise.
  113. >Looks like they're going to get along.
  114. "Go on and nuzzle her, boy. She's friendly."
  115. >The stallion seems encouraged by your tone and brings his snout in close, only to have it bitten.
  116. >In a yelp of pain he flaps his wings so hard it makes him fall backwards into a set of empty holding cages.
  117. >The feathers the bird, at least the ones she still has, are raised as she brandishes her beak.
  118. >You forget not all ponies have a special talent for putting animals at ease.
  119. >Or maybe the first molt has her in an especially bad mood.
  120. >The stallion scrambles to his hooves, and presses himself against you, wary of the macaw.
  121. "I'm sorry, I didn't know she would react like that, to a stallion, no less. I promise she's-
  122. >You're interrupted by the bell next to your front door.
  123. >Horseapples.
  124. "Just a minute," you muse as you turn back towards the stallion.
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