Saturday morning we freed Bucky from his stall. He was able to explore the barnyard and formally meet Pearl.
Bucky and Pearl seem pleased to have each other! They stick pretty close together now and where you find one, you’ll find the other. Everyone needs someone who gets them, right? After about 15 minutes of just the two bovines in the barnyard, we released the sheep. Bucky’s horse stall was right next to the sheep so he had all week to become desensitized to them. That didn’t stop him from chasing them back and forth across the barnyard! I think our poor sheep are wondering why in the world we keep adding cattle to their flock!
Let me say here, I love my sweet Pearl. She is quiet, gentle, friendly and adorable. I have worked with that heifer every day since we got her. I give her alfalfa pellets from my hand every morning so she associates my presence with a reward, then I brush her and reach down to feel her udder. It took about a week for me to be able to do this without her reacting in any way. She now tolerates this just fine and never backs away from me. This is all pre-training for when she calves and I can milk her. I want her as used to the milking process as possible before we’re actually learning to milk!
However, I’m not crazy about the steer. He’ll grab alfalfa from my hand but if I reach out to touch him, he starts tossing his head into the air. I’m not sure he wants to get too friendly. He is also pushing our sheep away from the hay feeder when he’s eating. Ryan may need to build yet another hay feeder so if the steer is hogging one, the sheep can go to the other. Adding another project to the to-do list is so discouraging when we have many other things we need to accomplish. I’m hoping Bucky just needs more time to transition. He seems a little quieter now that he’s in the barnyard with Pearl but I still hear him bellow every now and then. As of yet I’m not too bummed that our steer is only a temporary fixture on the farm.
The above-mentioned to-do list didn’t receive a satisfactory dent this weekend, either. One of my goals was to halter train Pearl. Fail! Dexters don’t fit standard cattle halters so after researching a bit online we ordered two halters in different sizes. We lured Pearl into a horse stall with very rich alfalfa hay (I’m pretty sure it’s the equivalent of ice cream for grazing animals 🙂 ) and tried them on her while she happily munched her treat. Neither fit! So now we need to buy another halter! We got a recommendation from the family we bought Pearl from for a good-fitting Dexter halter so we’ll go with that. They are very knowledgeable and have been extremely helpful to us! My goal is to finally tackle the halter training within the next couple weeks. This will make it easier to get them from one place to another and we can even stake them out in the yard to graze around the house this summer! Who needs a lawn mower when you have Dexters?
Here’s hoping we get a bit more accomplished this upcoming weekend! Ryan has been working hard on a farm project that the rabbits are pretty excited about! I hope he can share what he’s been doing soon!