Archive for September, 2008

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So proud of Matlida!

September 29, 2008

I am so proud of Matilda!  Had a schedule change so I didn’t go out to work with the cows at my usual time.   When I finally did get out there Maggie was a bit of a pill.  But Matilda stood still like a champ.  I rubed and curried her back and belly on both sides.  Ran a hand over and around her tail area, ran a hand down a leg all the way to the hoof, and also discovered she has SIX teats!   She never moved a muscle, or showed any sign at all of being upset by the touching.

They have been here for 3 months now, and have made so much progress it is just amazing!  And I am so hoping for a recognizable heat in the next day or two.

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An udderly great training session!

September 28, 2008

I haven’t had the heifers in the stanchion for a couple of days now, but they both went in willingly.  Maggie was a little reluctant to get both feet up on the platform but once she did that she did just fine.

When it was Matilda’s turn she barely hesitated getting into the stanchion, and once she figured out how to get her horns through the head gate stood quietly when I closed and locked the headgate.  As long as I was feeing her apples she let me touch her back and hip.   Since she was standing so still I rubbed her belly a bit and then touched her udder area.  I eventually made brief contact with her udder and that resulted in a slight raising of a foot, and a shifting away of her body.  Not sure if it was the contact or my cold hands she objected too.  🙂

I am so excited that she allowed that much touch without objection.  I was thinking I was going to have to go the stuffed glove on the end of a stick, and I’m glad I probably won’t have to resort to that.

Matilda should be coming into heat about the 1st of October, so I am watching her closely and praying I make the call to the AI tech at the right time.

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Koozy has been sold!

September 25, 2008

We sold Koozy to a very nice family tonight.  I was really worried how Bekah was going to take it, but she was a great little saleswoman.  Told them what a great donkey he was and then before they could say yes or no, she led him out of the pasture and up to their trailer.

She climbed into the trailer and he went willingly in after him.  She gave him a hug good-bye and told him he was going to a nice new home.   Waved good-bye and that was it.  I was expecting hysterics and sobbing, but I guess she has been getting that all out of her system over the past few days.

I did tell her that next spring we would look for a small horse that she and I could share, so she at least has something to look forward to in the future.

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Stanchion Training & A Last Ride

September 24, 2008
Matilda in the stanchion

Matilda in the stanchion

For this morning’s training session I changed one of the headgate pieces to its stationary position.  Which means that it is a lot tougher for them to fit their horns through the opening.  Once they were through that and showing signs of being comfortable then I moved the other piece into position too.

Maggie gave a mild struggle at first and then was happy to just eat apples.  Had a hard time convincing her to leave the stanchion when training was done.    She still doesn’t like to be touched, but compared to her behavior just a month ago the improvement is amazing!

Matilda did a great job too, and I actually put the second pin in and let her stand by herself long enough to snap a couple of pictures.   I was able to touch her on her back and hips without any protest from her as long as she had an apple in her mouth.  I need to finish up the feeder now, so that she can eat without my hand feeding her.   Then I can start on getting her desensitized to more touch.

While I was working with the cows, Bekah was busy giving Koozy apples and brushing him.  We are expecting a buyer to come tomorrow so she asked me to take pictures of her and Koozy this morning “so I can remember him forever!  And you need to give him a picture of me so he can remember me.”    So I took some pictures and she got to go on one last ride around the pasture.

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Wanna buy a donkey?

September 18, 2008

For Sale:  One very sweet miniature donkey gelding.  Great with kids!  Not so great with cows and goats.

Koozy and the cows have been getting along so well lately that it was a bit of a shock when Ari & Bekah started yelling yesterday afternoon that he was chasing the cows.  I went out to check and sure enough he was running them hard.  I called his name and told him to knock it off, but this time that wasn’t enough.  Nor was going out in the pasture.  He kept chasing them until I managed to cut him off and they were able to hide behind me.

I gave him a time out for a few hours, but the minute I turned him loose he took off after them.   So I got to repeat the chase this time in the dark.   And just in case you are wondering, previously a “time out” was enough to stop him chasing them.

This morning when I turned him loose in the corral he laid back his ears and went galloping towards the pasture, but the gate was closed so he couldn’t get to them.  Right now he is pacing the fence line muttering to himself, and looking daggers at them.

I have no idea what set him off on this chasing tangent, but I absolutely can’t have him doing that.  Matilda’s next heat is coming up in less than 2 weeks, and if she gets chased like she did last night she isn’t going to settle.  Or if he chases her when she is pregnant she will probably lose the calf.

Since I just can’t trust that he won’t suddenly start chasing them again he is now up for sale on our local Craigslist.  Needless to say Bekah is very heart broken about this, but there really aren’t any other options.

So anyone want to buy a very sweet donkey?

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Milking can be so relaxing!

September 17, 2008

This morning Bekah was still asleep when 7am rolled around so i let her sleep and went out to do chores by myself.  I’m only milking one goat right now and Allie is an experienced milker that at least stands still for me even if she doesn’t produce very much.

It was so peaceful watching the sunrise and listening to the rythmic swish of the milk in the bucket and Fred the Red welcoming the day and talking to his ladies.   I’m sure once I start milking the first time fresheners in a few months (I hope!) and eventually the cows that it won’t be nearly as peaceful but for today it was a lovely relaxing time.

And speaking of cows, Maggie barely hesitated before walking right into the stanchion this morning and I was able to coax Matilda in without a lead rope.

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Stanchion training

September 16, 2008

I am so excited about this morning’s training session!   I was able to put lead ropes on both girls without any problems at all.  And since Maggie was showing no fear of the stanchion I tied up Matilda first and tried luring Maggie into the stanchion first.    I coaxed her in within a few short minutes and she even worked out how to twist her head so her horns would fit through the headgate.    I was only hoping to get her onto the platform today, never dreamed I’d be able to feed her through the headgate on the first try!

Matilda was a little more reluctant to step into the stanchion, but with some light pressure on the lead rope and a few apples for incentive she soon had her head through the headgate too!   In fact she seemed less nervous once her head was through.  Of course it is as wide open as it can possibly be at this point.

Since they did so well on their first trip into the stanchion, I’m going to hold off on putting the second rail on.  But I do need to figure out a way to tie them while they are in the stanchion so I can start working on getting them used to being touched on their legs, bellies and udders.

What a blessing to have a large supply of apples given to us, it makes the training sessions go so much more smoothly and it isn’t costing me a small forturne in treats eitehr!