Category Archives: Animal Husbandry

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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A Horse of Many Colors

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Cookie waited until we had left for the U.S. last month to have her anxiously awaited baby. My husband was over the moon that it was a boy and promptly named him Red, although I’m not sure the name quite fits him. He’s a mahogany color if anything, with yellow socks and a black muzzle with what looks like mascara rings around his eyes. Horsey people say that the color the hairs around the mouth are will determine what the final coat color the horse will be. So I guess we’ll just wait and see with little Red.

He’s friendly and smart and thinks he’s a dog. This angered Puppy so much that he ran away for a few days right after Red arrived. Puppy wasn’t interested in yet another new friend. He got over it and came back though he has made his new hideyhole where the food is kept because Red can’t get in there. 

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Cookie is an excellent mama, if maybe a little too protective of her son. One day the little Chivita (one of the triplets) managed to get into the stall with Cookie and Red, only mama wasn’t having any of that. She bit Chivita’s tail clean off. Needless to say, Chivita isn’t as curious about the new arrival as she was before. Her tail healed up just fine as well.

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About a week after our return, we had our one and only baby goat of the year. I think she was premature because she was just so small and wasn’t up and around as soon as most of our little ones. She’s doing fine now though, so it’s all good. We haven’t come up with a name though. Suggestions?

Some of our goats are in heat now and our hunka hunka burning love macho goat can’t seem to handle all the hormones in the air. He’s become aggressive. He’s butted the door until it has come off its hinges. He’s butted the wall between the goats and Lady until it fell over. If this keeps up too much longer, it might be time to trade for a new macho.

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