Tag Archives: homesteading

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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Enjoy other animal stories!

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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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Horsing around

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The three musketeers waiting for Lady to open their door!

Lady has been giving us a run for our money lately. She’s learned not only how to open her stall door, but the goats’ door as well. For a couple of weeks, we went around blaming each other for leaving the doors open. It wasn’t until one day we caught her in the act that we finally wised up.

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We have to run a wire through the latch or she opens it!

Lady has also been eating the eggs. My husband had been blaming the dogs. So he constructed a puppy-proof barrier and the eggs were still gone when he went out to collect them. Lady is considerably taller than the dogs, so she didn’t have any issues keeping on keeping on with her egg consumption.

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Cookie giving me the skank eye!

Cookie, who still hasn’t dropped her foal yet, has her own little circus going on. Since she is supposed to be “my” horse, I’ve been allowed to ride her, huge belly and all, for short periods of time. We take it nice and easy and don’t go too far.

One evening we decided to go just a little bit further down the road. Once we passed our normal turning around spot, Cookie kept giving me the skank eye. I tried to redirect her attention back to the road so that I wouldn’t get impaled by the low-hanging mesquite branches, but she’d just turn her head to the side and give me another look.

Her pace slowed considerably so I figured she was tired. Sure enough, when we made a U-turn, she started trotting away, no more skank eye. It certainly gave me a chuckle.

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View of the patio/animal corral from above.

I’m not sure what we are going to do when baby Cookie arrives. Already our supposed “patio” is animal crowded with chickens, puppies, Cookie and then Lady and the goats when the doors are magically opened. Time to brainstorm a better solution.

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Bye Bye Boys

Apparently, the birth of the last pregnant ewe on our compound was the catalyst to sell, sell them all, for my husband. Of course, the outstanding debt on Cookie, the pregnant mare, was another incentive. Anyway, Preggers had two cute little lambs, a boy and a girl, but my husband wasn’t happy. They seemed to be more Pelehuey rather than Charol, meaning they didn’t have the fluffy fur of the mama and must have taken after the dad. Not like my husband has ever sheared the sheep we’ve had now for a year, so what difference does it make if they had fuzzy wool or not?

Anyway, mama and babies went to live with the neighbor down the road. They seem happy enough when I see them occasionally romping through the underbrush in La Yacat.

So then ALL the spare machos had to go. That meant the Borrego Boys, the Chivo boys, Salt and Pepper, and Payaso the one singleton in this bumper crop of twins, were loaded up in the back of the truck and headed to Puruandiro. Although it took all day, everyone was sold, most to become the head mucky muck of their own herds, since the macho needs a’changing every few years to minimize inbreeding. Some women I know subscribe to this philosophy as well, but that’s another story.

So that left Zombeta all alone in the back corral. I convinced my husband to move her to the front area so she wouldn’t die of loneliness. Her pitiable bleats were hard on my heart. He did, onto our “patio” that is Cookie’s corral as well. Zombeta was happy.

A few days later, he found a buyer for Zombeta and we are now sheep-free. She lives now at another neighbor’s who has sheep and seems well enough. 

Then disaster struck. The mama of the triplets took sick. The whole side of her face swelled up. We went to the animal clinic who said it might be a tumor. Since it happened overnight, we thought it was more likely a bite from something. They gave us some pain medication and sent us on our way.

I suggested that it might be something the rats dragged in because boy do we have rats this year. They have even managed to find a way inside the house. No rat trap has been able to capture a single one. During the week mama goat was sick, my husband managed to kill 15 small mice, although some committed suicide in the water trough, and one HUMUNGOUS ROUS (rat of unusual size) outside, but, you know, there’s always more.

Mama goat died. We had quarantined her and the triplets to the back corral. We moved the orphans back to the main goat coral and bought some milk. Unfortunately, two days later, Spot died too.

Now we thought it might be ticks. When my husband checked animal ears, sure enough, monstrous ticks. He spent the afternoon plucking them out of the ears of goats, dogs, and horses. Then everyone got some powder in the ear and bath. That seems to have done the trick. No one else has died although this morning, it seems like Bunny, one of the triplets doesn’t want to eat. That doesn’t bode well. 

We are trying to stay on top of these mouse and tick infestations and so far are ahead of the game. Now, we are just waiting for Cookie to have her baby, it ought to be any day now.

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