I always chuckle when people tell me that they're heading off to the gym to work out. I have never been a gym, but never fail to go to bed exhausted, everyday. Here's my "recipe" [wink] to a countrified gym...
Start out by getting up early every morning (about 6 or 6:30 AM should do it) and milking a minimum of three goats. This daily milking routine will tone those forearm muscles very nicely! But please be careful when shaking people's hands; your grip will have undoubtedly gotten firmer! You will notice that your reflexes will become sharper with time, as you get better at whipping the milk pail away from flailing hooves of grumpy caprines, and dodging their attempts at unsettling you.
In between milking sessions, practice stretching your back and upper leg muscles by repeatedly catching the Nigerian Dwarf that escapes every time you open the gate. 6 to 10 of these stretches is about the norm.
Practice your sprinting in between milking and catching the Dwarf by shooing the ducks out of the barn multiple times (they try to eat goat food), and catching ornery goats who have decided that they want to take a holiday from milking. Your lungs will be strengthened considerably after a couple of weeks of running around the round hay bale trying to go faster then the goat in front of you.
Now, give those upper arm muscles, and your ankles a good workout by throwing hay into the manger that stands taller than you. On the count of three, stand up on your tip toes and precariously put the hay where it belongs. Many times, you will end up getting a full body workout, as you repeatedly pull goats away from the hay bucket, extract your toes from beneath hooves, break up fights between two animals who want to be in the same spot, stand on one foot so that the other can keep five goat kids at bay, and attempt to keep your balance when a goat decides she needs to be right where you are standing.
Are you sore yet? We haven't even gotten to the chickens!
Next, you will need to move the chicken tractor. This entails moving a big, wooden frame two inches, and then waiting the the dim witted meat broilers within to realize that they're supposed to move too. Now move it two more inches. Oh fiddlesticks, a chicken got it's leg stuck beneath the frame. Quickly run and extract the poor bird, run back to where you were, and start pulling again. Pull, extract a chicken. Pull, extract a chicken. By the time you have moved the tractor the 8 to 12 feet it needs to go, you have done numerous back, upper leg, arm and shoulder stretches. Either you will be really limber at this point, or you will be groaning.
Don't forget to fill the feeders and waterers! In filling the feeders, you are exercising those upper arm biceps as you carry, lift and set down 30 lbs. of chicken feed. Watering the chickens involves hauling 7 gallons of water, hoisting it over a fence, climbing over the fence (unless of course, you want to go through the gate and let the Dwarf out again!), and then filling the water bucket inside the chicken tractor.Your arms WILL be tired after these chores for a few days, so please be warned.
On some days, it will be necessary to move the chicken tractor into a new pasture, but there is a fence in your way. The solution to this is to let the meat broilers out, haul the chicken tractor through a gate and then go catch all those fat birds. I would like to caution you in not using up too much energy at once in catching those balls of feathers. They are surprisingly fast and agile, and will do their best to stay just out of your clutches. If you have upwards up 40+ birds, catching all of them can take about an hour. By then end you will have done a minimum of 80 back stretches as you stoop to grab a bird, carry it over the the awaiting tractor, stoop again to put it in, and then walk back to catch another one. Your legs will also get a wonderful workout as you walk from one end of the pasture to the other to catch every single bird.
Whew! Is it breakfast time yet!? Before going inside though, don't forget to let the laying hens out, keep an eye on the aggressive rooster who is feeling grumpy today, turn the electric fencing on, make sure all gates are latched, and then put the Dwarf back in the pen when she escapes as you exit the barn.
Throughout the day, you also have the privilege of weeding the garden (countless exercises in that!), catching escapee goats, hauling 5 gallons of water every few hours to refill the chickens water bucket, shooing the ducks away from the house, trying to keep the goat kids off of the tarp roof on the chicken tractor, and then guess what!!
By 8 'o' clock PM, you get to do those morning chores all over again as you milk your goats in the evening, and get everything ready for the night.
Sounds like a fun life, huh? I sleep really good at night.... ;)