Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Let It Snow! Let It Snow!: Ox in Winter

Scout the Ox Begins His Second Winter --- With a Smile
The blaze orange ribbon was for safety during hunting season.

Winter for Scout the Ox Means Cozy Nights in the Barn

[Editor's note: Don't tape your ox's horns!  In several weeks time the tape began to deform Scout's rapidly growing horn and was discernible for a long time after.]
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Ox in Training: Hauling Firewood

On a November day when the sky was grey, like the side of a fish, I chunked up a fallen Box Elder tree. After checking out the chainsaw with his usual curiosity, Scout the Ox grazed nearby while Harry the Dog hunted mice in the tall grass.

 We went back for the wagon and Scout the Ox stood patiently while I loaded the two-wheel garden cart that I had converted into a four-wheel wagon by adding the forecart attatchment (see How To Convert a Garden Cart into a Small Wagon to Pull With a Single Ox ).

Scout the Ox pulled the load without difficulty; the cart was a little top-heavy and we did tip it over one time, but otherwise it worked great. I lead him with my lead-stick (see Broomhandle Ox Training Aid because the trail to the woodpile meanders around numerous obstacles, and the like.

The dump function worked well. When we'd get a load to the woodpile I'd trip the dump and have Scout the Ox move the cart ahead. I came back to split and stack the firewood later.

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Hoof Trimming on Yearling Steer: Ox in Training

Before Trimming Hooves, the Medial Claws Rocked Back and Curled In

I posted the following on Riding Steers Forum on October 25th, 2010:
"I brought Scout onto the concrete Saturday and was soo-o discouraged with his front hooves. I was able to get the lateral claws trimmed to stand up pretty good, but the medial claws are so rocked back that all the weight they bear is on the heel. He showed this tendency very young.

This is not uncommon in dairy cattle (I trimmed cattle hooves full time for a couple of years), but, the main reason I bought my calf from the dairy I did, was that they never had hoof problems --- always good solid feet!

Sometimes you can do everything right and still get bad results."

Five Days After Hoof Trimming the Hooves Stand Up Straight 

I'm very pleased with the results of the trimming. Scout is standing up normal now.

Before anyone attempts trimming cattle hooves, I highly recommend study, and hands on training (Practicing on hooves salvaged from a butcher shop is in order). It would be easy to cripple an ox by making trimming mistakes.

Scout the Ox had overgrown hooves at an unusually young age. To see before and after photos of that click Hoof Trimming Calf.

Bennett Buggy, Hoover Wagon: Ox Tows Disabled Lawn Tractor

Towing my lawn tractor back to the shop for repairs reminded me of the Bennett Buggy and the Hoover Wagon of The Great Depression. Folks who had purchased automobiles in the good years before the economic downturn now found that they either couldn't afford gasoline or it wasn't available --- a number of automobiles had their engines removed and were hitched to oxen or horses to provide transportation.

Ox Team pulls 1933 Bennett Buggy, Crescent Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada

Bennett Buggy Pulled by an Ox and Horse Teamed Together. Saskatchewan, Canada

The Bennett Buggy was named after Prime Minister of Canada, Richard Bennett, and the Hoover Wagon was named after the President of the United States, Herbert Hoover. Both served during The Great Depression of the 1930's. I have not found a photo of a Hoover Wagon; does anyone have one?