Sunday, February 28, 2010

History Repeats Itself

The Dog in the Manger

by Aesop

A dog lay in a manger, and by his growling and snapping prevented the ox from hay which had been placed for him. “What a selfish Dog!” said the ox, “He cannot eat the hay himself, and yet refuses to allow those to eat who can.”

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Happy Harry!

Harry has two homes. One in the barn with the calf and the pony, and one in the house with us.
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Friday, February 26, 2010

Job Description: Oxherd

He feedeth and nourisheth oxen, and bringeth them to leas and home again: and bindeth their feet with a langhaldes and spanells and nigheth and cloggeth them while they be in pasture and leas, and yoketh and maketh them draw at the plough: and pricketh the slow with a goad, and maketh them draw even. And pleaseth them with whistling and with song, to make them bear the yoke with the better will for liking of melody of the voice. And this herd driveth and ruleth them to draw even, and teacheth them to make even furrows: and compelleth them not only to ear, but also to tread and to thresh. And they lead them about upon corn to break the straw in threshing and treading the flour. And when the travail is done, then they unyoke them and bring them to the stall: and tie them to the stall, and feed them thereat.

from Mediaeval Lore from Bartholomew Anglicus by Robert Steele, 1860-1944 courtesy of

Riding Lessons

Kira became a bull rider at age two. She’s the perfect size to give Scout some early riding experience. (Relax. Grandpa was holding on tight.)
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Kid Time

Puppy “play” and more specifically “play biting” are healthy for a dog's social development; it helps to shape the puppy into an adult dog that can safely participate in give and take activities. Specifically, it helps the dog to learn to regulate his bite pressure. A dog who has not had this “play time” as a puppy could become a menace as an adult.

The grand-kids came to stay overnight the second week in January, and Levi obliged in providing some good, quality "playtime."

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Puppy Leads Calf - Steer - Ox in Training: Serendipitous!

One night, Harry the Puppy, who loves ropes (It is said Newfoundland dogs once helped fishermen haul in their nets), picked up Scout the Ox's lead rope and invited a tug of war. The calf, Scout, who’s now halter trained, readily followed Harry’s tugs. With Harry leading the way they made several trips up and down the driveway, appearing to throughly enjoy this self-invented interspecies play.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

"Get Up!"

Training "get up" and "whoa" using long reigns.
I’m working on teaching Scout, the bull calf, to “whoa” and “get up.” In addition to pulling a ox cart I think it would be fun if he could be ridden. I’m preparing him for that concept while he is young and manageable. Cattle have a good memory and what he learns today should stay with him into adulthood.

When he’s in his pen, or we’re taking a break while out on a walk, I’ll occasionally stand over him in the riding position, bearing my own weight, but getting him accustomed to the idea. With this same thought in mind I’ve been teaching him the “whoa” and “get up” commands using a pair of long reigns clipped one on each side of his halter. I draw these together over his back with an iron ring giving the sensation of the reigns being directed from the riders position. I’ve been surprised how well he responds to a gentle tug for “whoa” and a shaking of the reigns for “get up,” along with the verbal commands.
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Calf and Puppy: Herd (and Pack) Replacement Companions

Scout the Ox and Harry the Dog snuggle in a clean pen.

Scout the Ox and Harry the Dog are forming close bonds by eating, sleeping, playing and even drinking together.
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Getup and Whoa with Long Reins on a Standard Halter.


Did you say "bad weather"?
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Weather Alert!

When pigs carry straw to their sties,

bad weather may be expected.

Scout the Ox, Out of the Weather, Grooming His Tail

Keeping a clean tail is hard work for Scout the Ox; clean bedding is essential.
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Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Little History

I love this old photo! Maybe because I have some English and Scottish roots. The Ayrshire breed of cattle originates in Scotland and this photo is taken in England. I presume Dick is an Englishman.

Dick Armstrong with his Ayrshire Bull at Newtown, Kent, South East England.
This and more can be seen at
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Subzero Cold Snap

The temperature got down to -15 F (-26 C) overnight (not that cold for a two-month-old calf). Even though he was in the shelter of the barn Scout got frostbite on his ears, and was shivering in the morning. I thawed his ears by holding them in my hands and put this wool coat on him. His ears softened up and seem fine. Here he is basking in the sunshine.

I think he must have had a metabolic energy shortage transitioning from pasture to hay — because of an additional snowfall. He had been on a calf starter mix but didn’t consume as much as I would have liked to have seen. He seemed to prefer pasture even though the forage was brown. I added a third feeding of milk replacer to his diet for a few days and he continued to wear the coat at night for several weeks. He could have shaken it off but seemed to enjoy the added warmth.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Bonding, as the temperature in the barn plummets below zero F (-18C). 
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Harry, the puppy, pushes Scout, the calf, off the calf's milk replacer bottle.

Scout shoves Harry aside and gets the nipple back.
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Not a dog person? Can you tell?
Harry comes home.
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Harry's mother is a blueblooded Landseer Newfoundland. His father is a rogue.

He's eight weeks old and ready to come home. His owner's daughter named him Harry. The name fits perfectly: HAPPY HARRY!
(photos courtesy of Dr. Jones)
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