Tag Archives: Animal Husbandry

A dismantling of sorts

Life is never stagnant. And while that is often a good thing, it also means that we must be amenable to change, even unwelcome change.

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Just delighted with the new yeguita, Shadow.

My husband had been complaining for 6 months or so about the cost and effort required to maintain our two horses, Joey and Shadow. He had opted not to plant anything this past year, and alfalfa was mighty expensive. He was especially irate about feeding Shadow, my son’s horse. I don’t know why as she didn’t eat any more than Joey, but we all knew that Joey was my husband’s consentido (favorite). He was constantly yammering at my son to contribute something towards Shadow’s feed. My son had no job. He’s 14 years old. He often took care of the horses when my husband was working or otherwise unavailable. There was no reason that he should have to pay for Shadow’s food in my opinion. It caused a decided rift in our home.

Beauty and Joey

Beauty and Joey

In the meantime, I sold Myrtle, which was registered in my name, without his explicit written permission, although I told him about the transaction. Then, my husband pulled out his trump card. The horses, Shadow and Joey, were both registered in his name since my son is a minor. He, therefore, could sell them without our permission. He started offering Shadow to various people he knew. On several occasions, someone would come by the house when he wasn’t home and I sent the prospective buyer away with a tick in his ear.

kissing horse

Then the day arrived when a serious buyer came and we were all present. My husband gave my son the final say in the matter. Tired of fighting about it, he agreed to sell Shadow. The deal was made. My husband kept 500 pesos for his commission and 500 more for the cow barn guy’s commission in making the deal but gave the rest to my son. He suggested that my son buy a motorcycle with the proceeds, but I vetoed that. No 14 year old needs a motorcycle. I took the money and hid it from the both of them. My son wanted to use some of it to buy school supplies, but I said I would pay for all of those. If there is something my son wants, and it is deemed worthy by mamush (me), he can spend the money. Otherwise, it’s to be saved for future needs.

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Beauty and Shadow and proud Poppa!

That night I cried. We had known Shadow since she was born. She was a lovable, gentle mare. And now that chapter of our La Yacata adventure was done.

posing with Joey

My husband also decided to sell Joey a few weeks later. I had no issues with that. Joey had always been more temperamental. My son and I had often fantasized his sale. Now the horses are gone.

My husband used the money from Joey’s sale on new tires for the truck. He redesigned Shadow’s stall to accommodate the goats. Joey’s stall, with its new roof, will eventually be a new chicken coop. At the moment it is being used to store construction material for a job he has building a house in La Yacata.

Moving on.

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Joey goes bananas

As the supports for roof needed to be in place for 21 days and the roof was for Joey’s stall, Joey couldn’t occupy it. (See Joey’s room remodel) So, Joey had to be moved. Shadow was tethered in the car parking/food storage area, and Joey was given her stall. It hardly seemed fair to Shadow, but I have mentioned that Joey is my husband’s consentido (favorite) right?

Anyway, Shadow’s stall is not as solidly constructed, nor as finished as Joey’s stall even though she is a full year older. And Joey, well, is Joey, a bit nervy. He’s not into change at all. So this new arrangement had him up in arms.

My husband said it’s because his testicles have dropped early. Not having any experience with male horses before Joey, I had to look this phenomenon up. Apparently, a male horse’s testicles will descend, one at a time at anywhere from 18 to 24 months of age. As Joey will be 2 in July, he seemed to fall in the normal range of development. However, all the men in La Yacata have made comments about Joey’s balls and offer their congratulations to my husband, as if he is responsible for the miraculous feat or something. I’m surprised my husband hasn’t been handing out cigars. Whatever!

No one made a big fuss when Shadow had her first estrus cycle a few months ago. In fact, my husband was annoyed that now he’d have to keep a better eye on her or any stray donkey or stallion would get her pregnant. Machoism!

Whatever the reason for Joey’s nervousness, he wasn’t happy in his new stall. He’s always been flighty like Spirit had been. My husband sold Spirit for that very reason, but won’t think of being parted from his precious Joey.

So here’s what happened.

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The laminas (corrugated metal sheets) didn’t quite reach the end of the roof

Since the roof and the remaining laminas did not quite reach, my husband wanted to extend the laminas just a bit so that they would overlap, keeping the rain from coming in the gap. He and my son were up on the roof doing just that. Joey, in Shadow’s stall, must have thought the sky was falling. He went berserk and tried to leap out of the stall. The gate was too high for escape, so he ended up impaling himself on a rebar.

My husband and son rushed down to administer first aid. The wound was deep, and my husband was sure he’d have to put Joey down. He went for Azul (the vet named Blue) to see if anything could be done. Azul stitched up the wound, saying that neither the heart nor blood vessels were damaged, but it was a bad injury.

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Joey’s wound

Before stitching over the cuero (skin), he mashed a banana up and inserted it into the whole. He said that the banana will help the skin scar faster. I couldn’t find much information on the use of banana in wounds, but he’s had more than 20 years experience working with horses, so I suppose he knows what he’s doing.

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It’s only water, Joey!

Joey had to be tethered so that he couldn’t lay down and rip out the stitches. He wasn’t happy about that. He was given penicillin and tetanus shots. My husband tried to wash the wound with mata de toro, but Joey wasn’t having any of that. He wouldn’t let anyone bandage his wound or apply aloe as we did with Shadow. In fact, he managed to bite open his wound on several occasions even being tied.

He had to be untied to eat, but one of us had to be out with him while he ate to make sure he wasn’t biting his chest wound again. He took HOURS to eat–stopping every few minutes to glare at the watcher.

He couldn’t be tied outside as walking caused his wound to open again. He wouldn’t tolerate Shadow being outside either, so she was sentenced to prison as well, just so he would be calm.

We couldn’t go anywhere for weeks as Joey needed constant supervision. As soon as he thought no one was watching, he’d start in on the ropes. He managed to bite completely through one, tear his halter to pieces another time and pull hard enough to break a second rope. Each time he escaped, he bit his wound open again and bugged Shadow until we could herd him back in the stall. My husband had taken the offending door off the corral after it dared injure Joey. Really, it was exasperating.

At times, my husband despaired and said that if he didn’t heal up, he’d be sold to feed the lions at Los Areas Verdes. Then he said, if Joey did recover, he was selling both horses. Couldn’t he see that Joey was the problem here?

Joey did get better, despite it all and after about a month, he and Shadow were allowed out to graze again.

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Joey’s room remodel

Joey is my husband’s consentido (preferred son). Yes, he is equine and not human, but that doesn’t seem to make a difference to my husband. So since my son recently had a room remodel to honor his approaching adulthood (See Ladykiller’s room remodel), there was nothing to be done but give Joey a room remodel as well. Wouldn’t want to play favorites, you know.

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Off came the lamina (corrugated tin) roof. My husband wanted a cement roof for Joey, under the guise of adding a side porch for me and my container garden. He didn’t fool me one bit. I knew who he was appeasing here.

It was a smaller section than our last roof project (See Up on the roof that nearly wasn’t), only measuring 7 meters by 5 meters, and my husband was pretty sure that he could have it done over Easter break. Once he gets an idea in his head, there is no stopping him, so I didn’t even try.

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He did the castillos (supports) and set up the wood by himself. The day of the actual roof building he didn’t even wait until I arrived to help out.

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The coladores (roofers) were a younger lot than the last crew and apparently weren’t drinkers. I had asked if I needed to bring some caguamas (beer) because the lack of alcohol had been an issue with the last roof building and was told no. I asked if I should bring some carnitas (fried pig meat) or some other food for lunch for the workers. Again, my husband said no. Apparently, he had offered 150 pesos for the work plus lunch or 180 pesos and a soda. To a man, the workers chose the 180 pesos and a soda option.

So the work went smoothly with only one run for more sand to finish the job. The mixer worked just fine, we had enough nails for the ramp, no animals escaped and wrecked havoc. There was a small hitch when there was no tortilla paper to be found to roll the mota (marijuana), but they accepted a sheet of notebook paper and called it good. Hmm.

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Although it was a much smaller project than the last roof, it still was a full day’s work. After the cement was poured, there was the smoothing and tamping down, and finally the splashing of the water. I really couldn’t believe how uncomplicated it had been.

My husband is now making plans for a window for Joey and even talked about putting a tinaco (water storage container) on the roof for a shower for Joey.  Good grief!  Next, he’ll want me to make curtains and put down a rug!

Of course, something did go wrong.  Joey went bananas!

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Love is in the air

In the Spring, a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love--Alfred Tennyson

No, it’s not our son that I’m referring too. Although being a foot taller than his classmates and sporting an impressive upper lip fuzz mustache has turned quite a few girls’ heads, he still is only 13 and not ready for dating yet. It is, however, definitely springtime in our barnyard critter neighborhood.

Our little chivitos (kids) have been jumping and leaping and growing devilish horns these past 2 months, which means that the moms have begun their first estrus cycle since giving birth. This hormonal change has turned Jason Boer into quite the Romeo.

Unfortunately, Romeo doesn’t sing very well. In fact, it’s an awful racket. And although his serenading is just as important for wooing the ladies as peeing on his face (yep), the noise is horrendous. As he likes to make his moves by moonlight, he has woken us up on several occasions. Groggy, it takes us several minutes to realize that no, an animal is not being tortured outside.

Much to our surprise, Junior, at the tender age of 2 months, has become a chorus boy in the love songs. The first time each of us heard his singing, we ran out to the corral in a panic, thinking one of the chivitos (kids) had become stuck and was dying. Nope. He’s just a Romeo in training.

None of the other little goats have the least interest in the fully grown mama goats, so we are astounded at Junior’s advanced development. Occasionally, father and son have been heard to sing duets. AHHHH!

My father-in-law’s macho goat sings in a lovely baritone. In fact, he sings so well, that on several occasions I went outside to see who was singing only to watch the herd pass by on their way up the hill. We should be so lucky.

Well, the good thing is that since all the kids were born within a 2 week period, the love fest concerts should also be finished within a 2 week period. Meanwhile, we’ll just cover our ears and endure.

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