Category Archives: Animal Husbandry

Not Taking The Blame

An actual picture of the elusive chicken feather guy rounding up his animals in the morning.

The other night, the horse guy, as opposed to the chicken feather guy, let his animals out to graze. Up and down the road they went, eating whatever tickled their fancy.

The next morning, the guy whose wife and kid planted some corn on their lot down the road came charging up to the house, beer in hand at 9 am to yell at me. He didn’t get too close. All three dogs got riled up and wouldn’t let him within 100 feet of me. Mr. Aggressive wanted to know if we had goats. We do. I didn’t deny it. He said that the goats ate all his corn. I said they didn’t. He should check with the guy who has sheep right next to his lot. 

So Mr. Aggressive went down to that house and banged on the door. The Borrega guy only comes before and after work so I shouted down that he needed to try at 5 pm or 8 am. You could see the steam rolling out of Mr. Aggressive’s ears. 

The corn field in question.

Mr. Aggressive went to town for some barbed wire and another beer and went at it. He hammered and drank and drank and hammered for 20 minutes or so. Curious, I decided to mosey on down after he’d left. Sure enough, he put up some sort of wire thing–not exactly a fence. He also nailed up a sign which I couldn’t figure out. Something about putas. If I couldn’t figure out the sign, what makes him think the livestock will stop and read it before helping themselves to young, tender corn shoots?

So the next morning, Mr. Aggressive lay in wait for Borrega guy who denied any and all knowledge of any corn eating. Borrega guy also pointed out that the poop right there in front of the lot wasn’t sheep or goat poop, which resemble little rabbit pellets. 

Not sheep, not goat, not even horse.

I’m not sure that the cow patty convinced Mr. Aggressive of anything. Neither the Borrega guy or we have cows. Of course, we could have brought one from another location to divert suspicion I suppose. Last night, the chicken feather guy let his animals out to graze again.

I have to quit rolling my eyes so hard. I’ve nearly given myself eye strain.

eye roll

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Hold Your Horses

So our neighbor up the hill, the chicken feather guy, has begun his let the animals out to forage during growing season rigamarole. The cows, pitiful scrawny creatures, are set free at night. And the horses, during the day. 

The chicken feather guy’s yegua (mare) has a colt who reportedly is 5 months old. This poor undernourished foal is only half the size of Red, who is just 2 months old. The other horse he has is a black and white stallion, which would be absolutely stunning if he weren’t in such poor health. 

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Unbeknownst to us, Cookie, Red’s mom, has gone into heat. This has made the stallion go completely nuts. He’s down by our horses every single minute. Of course, he isn’t strong enough to get the mating act done. His legs are too weak from hunger. So that just further frustrates him.

He also seems to think Red is a threat. Granted, Red is a male horse and he does still nurse which of course is an intrusion into what this love-struck stallion believes is his. So he kicks out at Red, who doesn’t understand and doesn’t go far from mom, which results in more kicks. 

The other day, B.W. Stallion (black and white) was giving the horses such a hard time that I went out to try and separate them. Well, that was a disaster. Lady was running up and down in hysterics. Red was getting hurt. And the dogs were chasing Stallion up and around. Stallion just wouldn’t give up even when I tried to shoo him off, mindful of not getting too close to those hooves.

My father-in-law happened by and tried to help. We decided the best thing would be to put the ladies and Red in. Wouldn’t you know it, the stallion decided he was coming home for supper too and marched himself right into the stall. It took some doing to get him out. 

About then, my son came home too which was a good thing because some of the little chivitos (goats) had escaped while we were trying to get the horses in. The dogs were still chasing Stallion around the house. It took another 30 minutes or so to get everyone, including the dogs, back inside and calmed down. 

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Stallion decided he’d wait at the door for a while. He did finally head home. We certainly got our exercise that morning! When my son went to complain to the chicken feather guy about the free horse, his response was “se me escapó.” (he escaped). It isn’t true. The walls around the chicken feather guys’ compound are 12 feet high. Nobody escaping from there. AND there’s the fact that this happens EVERY day. Se me escapó my ass. 

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Elvis has left the building

So after another half dozen times that our testosterone challenged macho goat knocked the door of the corral off, it was time for him to move on to greener pastures. We drove on out towards Valle de Santiago to this bridge where we typically find a herd of goats out and about. Sure enough, there they were. 

The brown and white one is preggers!

My husband made a deal, Elvis the macho goat for either 2 small female goatlings or one larger one that was pregnant. The owner said he could choose two small ones, which suited my husband just fine because one ended up being pregnant anyway. 

During the transfer, my husband handed the lasso that was around Elvis’s neck to the new owner. Elvis leaped off stage (the back of the truck) and took off. The new owner flew through the air much like one of those cartoon characters. Elvis was immediately rechristened “Venado” (deer) by the laughing compadres (buddies) watching the spectacle. 

Little chivito (Spot, one of the triplets) stepped right up to the plate now that Elvis is gone even though he’s not quite a year old. Whether Spot or Elvis has done the job, we are sure to have a batch of kids in December or thereabout.

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Aesop’s Fable

While we don’t exactly have the Tortoise and the Hare in the backyard, we do have The Turtle and the Rabbit and I think that’s good enough to qualify as our own Aesop’s Fable.

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We were gifted with a new Wascally Wabbit a few weeks. She’s a cute little thing and totally at home in our backyard. We’ve named her Buster Rabbit. We’ll see how long she’s a free-range bunny though. I’m afraid the dogs might just scare her to death if they happen to find a way in the back.

She’s adapted quite nicely to life in our backyard and has plumped up considerably what with all the green grass the rainy season brings. She’s also been able to enjoy carrot tops, watermelon rinds, and other tasty tidbits that get tossed out the back door.

We also have Mr. Turtle who’s a cantankerous SOB. My son and I crack each other imagining the things he might say if he were able to speak. In our mind, his speech is full of groserías (swear words) complaining about nearly everything.

Mr. Turtle is obviously not happy to live with us. We picked him up some time ago off the main road. His shell was cracked probably from being run over. Due to the severity of his injuries, we thought we’d let him recover in the upstairs patio garden. He was fine with that for about a week then scaled the wall and dropped down to the ground and made his way to the backyard.

Since the backyard is green and lush, full of good things to eat and ample water, we let him be. Now that his shell has healed, he has decided it’s time to move on, continuing that journey across the road to wherever it was he was headed before his mishap.

So far he hasn’t reached the front gate in his escape efforts, but it is only a matter of time. He’s determined, that’s for sure.

Aesop’s fables typically had some sort of moral to them. I’m not sure what the moral is in our rabbit and turtle interactions might be. Mr. Turtle might be Keep on, keeping on. Maybe Buster Rabbit’s lesson is to eat it while the getting is good.

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