Will has spent the last couple of months milking Surprise one or two times a day.
And, Will struggled to feed the little bugger...
Needless to say, the sheep were not happy to have him in a stall with them, or even one next to them. BAAAD BUUUD!
Bud (for short) has turned into a stocky, cute little guy with a great personality. Very gentle and loving. Very unlike his BAAAD sister, Dini. Bud's goal in life...to stay out of the freezer. So, we are helping him as best we can.
We began his halter training a couple of weeks ago and are now working on real ox stuff. Below is Marty at the beginning of the training when we were figuring out how to keep him from falling over. He would topple himself over if he didn't want to follow us. We've got that corrected and have now moved on to some other maneouvers.
Since this is a little bit of a learning curve for us all (my ox driving class at Garfielf Farm had well behaved and already trained oxen), we purchased a dvd from Rural Heritage (http://www.ruralheritage.com/). The dvd has given us some ideas of what to do and what not to do. But, there are still some things we are trying to figure out...like how to get him to stay when we walk away.
I have to say that he is coming along nicely. He can come and stop (even tho he doesn't stay yet), comes up for his halter to be put on, and stands for a period of time attached to a post. We have also introduced him to the tractor, the mower, the measuring tape (had it in my hand), the pigs, and a little kid (thanks to Val!). We walk him in the morn and eve. We call it going for a Bud Walk, which is a little different than walking to the fridge for a cold brewsky. In a couple of weeks he'll get castrated (ouch) and will then be a little steer.
Eventually we plan to put a yoke or a harness on him and have him pull things, move the pig cages twice a day, pull a sled with maple sap on it, and pull small logs out of the woods. It will take a few years to get to that point, but we are determined to try. It takes patience on both sides, committment, and determination. I think he is up to it...hopefully us too!
And as for his sister...well, no more running around the woods for her! She has been wild since day one.
We never bottle fed her and she has quite the bad attitude. In the picture above, Will is discussing her bad attitude with her...look at her defiance! When our farmer friend and dairyman, Paul Kilgus, told us he would've butchered her a long time ago we got to thinking he is probly right. So, this fall we will cull Dini which will give us meat for a year for the family. We'll keep Bud and Surprise together, continue to work Bud into an ox, and then breed Surprise for another calf next year (hopefully a female). We think Bud might have a calming effect on Surprise also.
That's all about the Bud for now!