Category Archives: Animal Husbandry

New Additions

Well, that pregnant goat my husband bought last finally gave birth–and to triplets no less. Two boys and a girl as cute as can be. They are just as lovely as Chiveta–making them way better looking than the kinder boys we have running about.

One of the boys is Spot because he has yep you guessed it, a spot on the back of his neck. The other we really haven’t named, except to say Not Spot, so maybe that’s his name. We can only keep one of them anyway, so best not to get too attached. The girl we’ve decided to call Bunny, which was also the name of a lovely twin that got goat-napped a few years ago. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again.

Meanwhile, he’s gone and bought a pregnant mare. Our horse Lady is just 2 years old and won’t be ready to breed for a while. I’m pushing my husband to wait to breed her until she is three, but she may go into heat this summer.

Anyway, back to the new horse. The guy up the hill had 4 horses which he let run semi-wild in an overgrown area. He’s decided 4 is too many so wanted to sell one. My husband immediately decided this was the horse for him. I asked him to wait until I saw it, so Sunday afternoon, he dragged me hither and yon to hunt down the horse. Eventually, she and her herd buddies were located and my husband brought her to the fence to meet me.

I estimate she’s about 10 years old, although the owner is saying she’s only 8. A lady never tells her age anyway. This is her third pregnancy and it’s quite advanced. I think she’ll have her foal before the month is out, but my husband says not yet. I also think it will be a boy. So we’ll see what happens there.

She’s a nice docile horse. My husband says she “my” horse but that’s not really true. She and Lady have decided that they can be friends. Since I’m in charge of the naming around here, she’s been christened Cookie. She’s mostly white with a salt-and-pepper mane and tail with black freckles all over her face.

My husband had to go and get her that very afternoon even though he hasn’t finished paying for her because he was concerned there wasn’t any water where she was being kept. And it’s been SO hot the past few days. He and my son led her down to our house and she drank 3 buckets of water, so she was thirsty.

Our population explosion isn’t quite finished. We are still waiting for the pregnant ewe to give birth. My husband keeps saying any day now.

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Counting Sheep

These days I have no idea what my husband wants to raise, sheep or goats because we certainly do not have the space to raise both species. Nor the patience. When the herd/flock are taken out to graze, they segregate themselves and the work to keep them safe from roving wild dogs, snakes, and poisonous plants is doubled.

So one Sunday my husband comes back from the grazing and says he’s sold the sheep to the neighbor. Zombie, Fuzzy and the others are gone in a few minutes, leaving us with just the Borrega boys and Zombeta.

With the cash in his hot sweaty hands, we head to Cerano that very afternoon to find a macho for our goat herd. We have lots of boys, but nothing close enough in maturity to fulfill any husbandly duties when the next heat cycle comes around later this month.

We happen across two herds of about 200 goats grazing in a recently harvested corn field. My husband does some tough negotiation and buys this young buck, quite a looker, for our fair ladies back home.

Having some extra cash, he haggles for yet another pregnant goat. He wanted a third, but just didn’t have the cash to complete the deal, so home again, home again jiggidy, jig we went with Macho and Prego.img_20190123_142958 (2)The three little sheep, Borega Boys and Zombeta, were allowed free run of the patio area, even had their own little feed box, so that they could grow up healthy and fat. Of course, this meant that the patio was full of sheep pellets as a result of their ample diet. Fun right?

I thought we were done with sheep acquisition, but NO! Since my motorcycle has been on the fritz and there hasn’t been any gas anyway to fill to the tank,  my husband found a buyer willing to trade sheep for it. So in addition to the three little sheep, we now have one pregnant ewe, and one who had recently given birth to twins, so 4 sheep with one on the way, making our grand total 7 sheep (and a half).img_20190115_120457 (2) The poop pellets on the patio were getting out of hand, so my husband went to work at revamping Miss Piggy’s bungalow in the back. The first attempt failed utterly. These are Mexican sheep after all and no little wall was going to keep them from the promised land (in this case, my backyard full of tasty plants). So he had to install barbed wire around the perimeter and that seems to have done the trick.

To keep them shaded, he rigged a wire/branch roof which in a few weeks will be covered in chayote leaves, making a nice little palapa for everyone in the sheep compound. Of course, I’m hoping in a few weeks, we won’t have any more sheep, but you can see how this sheep thing keeps going and going.img_20190118_110133 The mama sheep with the twins has been sickly since we’ve gotten her. Malnourishment and a rough delivery are the probable causes. My husband, Papa Chivo, has been bottle feeding the twins goat milk to supplement their diet and they are more lively. The mama gave us quite a scare when she stopped eating for a few days, but some tempting greens and some olive oil brought back her appetite and she seems to be getting stronger as well.img_20190123_142837So here we are being overwhelmed with goats and sheep. I actually had to go out and count again how many we have. 2 eves, 3 baby lambs, 8 baby kids, one goat macho, 5 nanny goats and 2 (one sheep/one goat) still on the way. Good grief!

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Puppy Love

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February certainly is the month to show how much you love your pets. Not only was February 20, Love Your Pet Day, but also today, February 23 is National Dog Biscuit Day.

Furthermore, February is Dog Training Education Month, National Prevent a Litter Month, and Responsible Pet Owner Month. This month also hosts Have a Heart for a Chained Dog Week and National Justice for Animals Week.

While we have been a cat/dog hiatus, one of each is more than enough, recently we added to our pet number. Neither Puppy nor Kitty is happy about it though.

My father-in-law’s dog had a litter of 8 pups. Once they were up and at’em, he said he was going to take them to the basurera (dump) because he couldn’t possibly feed them all. In addition to the momma dog, her 8 offspring, he also has another dog, making his canine population a grand total of 10.

My son came back from a visit and asked if we could adopt one. So we went up the hill and came back with 4. My husband carried on the entire time. 4 puppies! What were we going to do with those?

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He and my son gave them a flea bath however and settled them in a box in the backyard. In the next few days, my husband found homes for the other 2. He wanted to get rid of them all, but my son was now attached to Fred and George or as my husband calls them Ojos and Junior. However, he was able to adopt out the remaining 4 pups, greatly reducing the expense for my father-in-law.

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Fred and George are also very attached to my son as well. They love being carried about like babies, getting milk left over from the sheep/goat baby feedings and eating dog food. They couldn’t be happier!

So how are we celebrating all these doggy holidays this month? Well, we are heading to the vet to find out about the shot given to prevent my father-in-law’s dog from going into heat again. My son is in charge of the puppy training making him the responsible pet owner. We don’t chain any of our dogs although they are inside the Flores compound after dark for their own protection. And today, we will reward all the puppies, Puppy and Kitty (because she just can’t be left out) with a special biscuit treat. And they will reward us with LOVE or in Kitty’s case, a little less disdain. Now, this is my kind of celebration!

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International Hoof Care Week

Recently, my father-in-law and my husband were talking about shoeing horses. Apparently, the price per shoe has gone up to 400 pesos and as horses have 4, well, that’s a pretty penny. Although we’ve had horses that have been shoed, our current mare, Lady, is unshod.

My father-in-law said that none of the horses he has ever owned have worn horseshoes. He wondered about the prevalence of shoeing in Moroleon. I thought that perhaps since most horse owners here are hobby riders, that is they only take their horses out for shows or parades, shoeing might help protect the underside of the hoof from overgrowing in the absence of normal wearing down that occurs with a working horse. (See Pros and Cons: Are Horse Shoes Necessary for Hoof Health?)

Of course, not shoeing a horse doesn’t mean that our Lady’s hooves are neglected. Periodically my husband checks for stones or dirt buildup in the soft part of the hoof. He also occasionally files down the hoof if it seems to need it.  (See Ten Hoof Care Tips to Help Keep Your Horse’s Hooves Healthy and Strong)

In order to do this little bit of maintenance, he had to accustomed Lady to lifting her feet, one at a time so he could examine them.

Lady isn’t the only animal we need to check hooves though. Our goats and sheep regularly pick up thorns in the soft part of their cloven hooves. Sometimes, an animal we have just bought may need some filing done if it was kept in a soft ground area and not allowed to graze. Otherwise, the rocky terrain found in La Yacata, keeps those little tootsies appropriately worn. (See Hoof Trimming)

January 22-265 is International hoof-care week this year. If you have hooved animals, why not take the time to give them a little pedicure this week?

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Animal Antics South of the Border!

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