We have been buried under the task of getting the new additions to our Dexter Cattle family settled in and situated. Not as easy as you might think - when the two Moms of the cow/calf pairs we purchased have - actually - never been handled all that much. In fact - they've been considered as Brood Cows.
Both calves are already 6 months old - as of September 1st. And they'd not been weaned, yet. Hard to imagine when you see the two of them standing beside each other, but - they were born only 1 day apart!
Culture Shock. No other way to explain their current existence. Long story short - the babies are stalled up in the barn for the moment. We managed to finagle separating them on Saturday. You can read more about THAT fun - here!
Artist and Bruce have been introduced into the fold with Patty and Cora.
I tried stalling up April and Killian together - until today. We've had no choice but to wean and separate at the same time - immediately upon their arrival.
With Artist just becoming a hormonal-fresh Bull and April turning 6 months old... not gonna happen.
These cows cost way too much to behave on assumptions and hopes to risk consequences of a brand new heifer getting knocked up as soon as she becomes fertile.
I busted April giving Killian the ' T-bone ' half a dozen times - and got my gut full. I'm not sure how much that had been going on overnight. But I do know this is something Killian's Mom was doing to April before we managed to get the babies separated. And April's Mom seemed to make a point of looking the other way - never doing anything about it.
Grown Cows - I'll let 'em duke it out. But there will be no adults beating on children at my house.
At the same time - I noticed Killian becoming kinda sluggish. He turned his nose up at the water with the electrolytes with milk supplement added. I'll just keep watching to see if he gets thirsty enough. In the meantime - I'll sneak the dose into his grain. The grain and the hay make their way from end to end with no problem!
Little by little - I'm already having really good results with warming their hearts by way of some consistent attention. The Moms are having to get accustomed to being fed any grain twice a day.
The rations equal the same amount they were receiving within a week at their former home. However - those rations are now divided up into much smaller portions and twice a day. It's the compromise with what Artist and Bruce are accustomed to having in their life. And neither Gal seems to be complaining. Ha!
These girls were flighty before - and spooked when they got here. It took some serious imagination and physical strength to get those babies separated from them.
But I began going to their stomachs to win them over! What better way than with walking into the paddock and right up between Artist and Bruce to hand feed them alfalfa cubes.
Worked like a charm! Those ladies watched those boys become - pigs. Two minutes later - they're at the gate and wanting theirs!
And this morning - the tone of my voice with the boys - about them being pigs and not letting the girls go first. Mentioned the ladies' names while talking to the boys.
It was like the ladies knew I was scolding the boys for not being polite. They watched me coax the boys in one direction. And they would jump up to the fence from the other direction before the boys snapped to what I was doing. Yep! They'd take the cubes right out of my hands.
We girls stick together! Ya' know?!
As for the babies - I've spent a couple sessions with April in the barn alley - walking up and down and learning to lead. Although I did have to give her time with being tied up - first. The xtra small Thomas' Dexter Halter fits her perfectly - and does its job! She gets pissy at times. But she's coming along really well!
The walking - as usual - may take a little longer. But April will need some really sensitve and patient training. She's had 6 months to observe her mother. She's mirroring some behaviors - one of the reasons why I wanted to push her right into weaning with this new home relocation. She'll adjust to everything all at once. No rubber-band emotions being slung around from single events.
Introducing her to a show stick was funny! She kicked every time I got near her back leg - for about 3 minutes. Of course I used the blunt end to get her acquainted. Using the ' correct ' end may take a bit longer. But - only because this girl is extremely ticklish!
Just like Artist - her entire sides wrinkle up like an accordian when she gets tickled. And it looks so funny! But she seems to be able to handle it better if I use the blunt end for a while before using the point of the show stick.
It's gonna take more time practicing with walking and leading in the barn alley - along with completely successful weaning and a good start on a relationship with trust before I can take April out to the big paddock. I've already been out there with Killian! But we'll be putting the 6' gate up - during the next round of days off coming up ( God willing ) - in the new area on the other side of the barn.
We'll be able to let the kids run around in that area during the day - until we get the cross-fencing and shelter completed in the big paddock.
And hopefully - Dwayne and I will reach a point where we will no longer feel like we've had Tetanus shots in every extremity and both butt cheeks!
Thank God - that Jet Tub is clean.