Tag Archives: Animal Husbandry

Magical Critters in La Yacata

Fuzz receiving chin rubs.

Fuzz has been with us for about a month now. He’s gone from a small fluffy bit of fur into a much larger curious beast intent on practicing his pouncing skills every time one of us comes out of the bathroom. His larger size has increased his jump height as well, so nothing is out of reach anymore. We’ve tried babyproofing some areas, but who’d have thought the baby could get up on top of the piano at his size and age?

Fuzz has also been working on training us to meet his demands. He enjoys chin rubs and belly tickles at regular intervals. His food consumption has increased and his way of letting me know that he needs more sustenance is to bite my toes furiously. 

He’s been pretty good about using the bathroom outside in his litter box. For a while, he was using my back porch planters as a giant toilet, but I’ve replanted it with spikey plants and that seems to have taken care of that. 

He’s learned how to let himself in and out of the house should we be tardy about opening the door. When he wants to go out, he launches himself full force with a running start at it, as if he’s on platform 9 ¾ with a luggage trolley heading to Hogwart’s. He can open the door from the outside when he’s really determined as well. He shimmies his paw underneath and pulls. He doesn’t always get it open enough to dash through but the banging he makes is enough to wake me from even the deepest slumber and open the door for him.

This morning, we left Fuzz alone in the house for about 30 minutes. We came back to complete chaos. He had gotten into a bucket of car oil my husband left in the garage and tracked it throughout the house. This meant a whole-house double-time mopping session and a bath for Fuzz which he didn’t enjoy at all. Not all the stains came up and my daybed cover is ruined.

Fuzz after his bath.

Our other animals are practicing their magic tricks as well. Terry chewed through his third leash in a fit of jealousy while we were walking the Puppers. Fred and George have discovered that if they team up with Lady, between the three of them, they can remove the bars that keep Lady in her stall so she can mosey on out for a sweet nispero leaf snack. They were so proud of themselves that my son didn’t have the heart to scold them. You should have seen their beaming faces and wagging tails. 

Fred has adopted his own chicken pet. Perhaps it’s his familiar? The rooster had been pecking the living daylights out of one of our gringa chickens. She took refuge with Fred and George under the rain tarp one day. Fred wouldn’t allow the rooster to come in out of the rain. Since then, Ms. Gringa eats, sleeps, and cuddles up with Fred, her savior. 

Wonders never cease around here!


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Jolina’s Kids

We’ve been waiting since nearly the moment of conception for Jolina’s kids to be born. They finally arrived and what a story we have here. First, she was busy giving birth in the goat corral and the other nanny goats started head butting her. Jolina has never been accepted by the herd, probably because she is my husband’s favorite. 

If her stomach had allowed it, she would have been already outside the corral with Terry, but she hasn’t been able to do any acrobatics this last week. So my husband and son ran out to save the day. Jolina had a baby half-in, half-out, and scampered out of the corral as fast as her delicate state would let her. 

In short order, Joel and Nina (yes twins) arrived. Jolina had enough of that sort of stuff and ignored her kids for the next two hours. To be fair, she did have a fairly traumatic birth experience. That didn’t stop her from chowing down a good supply of alfalfa though. 

Papa Chivo, AKA my husband, finally held Jolina still so her kids could nurse. Twice more he went out and forced Jolina into submission. I told my husband that I thought Jolina was a dud when it came to motherhood. He was mortally offended. How dare I insult his favorite pet?

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Jolina doing what she does best–eat!

By morning, Jolina was responding to her kids’ cries. My husband tied her in the food corral (otherwise she’d eat everything in sight) and her kids figured out how to help themselves to the milk supply. 

joel and nina

Nina looks just like her mother and Joel looks like Grandaddy Elvis.

Joel and Nina have certainly inherited their mother’s propensity for hollering and her circus tricks. Not 20 minutes after birth, one of the twins was inside the barrica (barrel) set up as a barrier to keep Red from bothering them, while the other was pushing it along. Another rescue was in order before they headed over Niagara Falls in that barrel.

They are good sized and healthy. The only issue we have is where to keep them. Terry had to be moved to the new garden area last night because his hysterical antics were making Jolina even worse. Fuzz is on the back porch. The Puppers are in the back yard. The corral has been divided for Lady and the goats. Red has his own stall. We just don’t have the space for more animals right now! Well, I guess we’ll do what we can.




Filed under Animal Husbandry, Homesteading

Training Terry

If you remember, a few months ago we were given Terry, a Belgium Shepherd dog whose owner could no longer care for him. He came with some behavioral issues that we are still working on. 

He and George still periodically growl at each other through the hole that Jolina made in the door. He’s totally jealous of any attention Fred and George get from my son and carries on something awful. Walks are difficult because we can’t take all three dogs at once–Terry and George can’t behave.  

Terry’s neurosis and fear of being left alone have lowered but not gone away completely these past few months. He is not a big fan of being tied either. His high pitched whimpering is grating on the nerves, but sometimes he needs to be tied if only for a few minutes so we can move between the animal area and the backyard without a brawl ensuing between the two would-be Alpha dogs. 

Since he is a shepherd dog, we thought maybe he should get some training in his breed’s profession to help him overcome all this neediness he has. The first trip out off-leash wasn’t a success. He certainly tried to round up the kids, but mama goat wasn’t having any of that and hit him with her horns. Terry panicked and ran off. He must have gotten lost because he didn’t turn up for three hours, traumatized and shaking.

Several weeks passed and we gave it another go. Terry decided wide circles were the best option for herding and the mama goats approved. So for several weeks, he’s been going out in the morning with the horses and goats and my husband. He likes to chase Red around and I think Red likes the game too. terry

He’s been behaved and returns to the house when everybody is ready to be put in. He then is as happy as can be the rest of the day, snoozing in the shade. 

But we can’t take Fred and George for a walk while Terry’s out minding the goats. He has a sixth sense and comes from nowhere to take down George and since George is leashed, Terry has the advantage.

For the most part, the morning romps have been going well until recently. The chicken feather guy’s female boxer dog is in heat AGAIN! If you’ll remember, the hormones that saturated the air led to Puppy’s demise. Well, apparently, she’s pretty potent and her heat cycle has attracted the biggest and the baddest canines around. Gangs of huge dogs have taken up residence in La Yacata in hopes of paying court. 

So a few days ago, Terry was out with the goats and one of these humongous interlopers was slinking along eyeing up the kids in the herd. Terry became defensive and attacked, which is exactly what he should have done. The interloper ran up the hill and Terry gave chase. The two ended up near the chicken feather guy’s compound. Terry whipped the other dog’s behind and came back to the herd.

Then the chicken feather guy came down following Terry saying that he has been biting his cows and horses. Several weeks ago he stopped my son when he was with Fred and George and said the same thing. Perhaps if he fixed his dog, there wouldn’t be packs of dogs around every few months. Perhaps if he didn’t let his animals out at night to eat other people’s crops because he doesn’t want to buy food for them, they wouldn’t get bit. Whatever! You can’t reason with stupidity. 

The hormones in the air have also been affecting Fred and George. Two days ago, my son was walking them and a strange dog arrived. George just went berserk–letme at ‘im, letme at ‘in. In the melee that ensued, he bit my son’s hand accidentally. When everybody was back in the Flores compound, George was extremely contrite. He moped around the rest of the day. Every time my son came out, he tried to make it up to him by wagging his tail, licking his face and climbing on his lap.

So, because of the high level of hormones in La Yacata, the dogs are in quarantine for the time being under stay at home orders. It doesn’t mean that one of the neighbors won’t get it into their heads to poison our dogs again, though. We can only hope that social distancing will prevail.


Filed under Animal Husbandry