Sunday 5 May 2013

Deux Cheveaux?

A quick catch up on happenings around the livestock. In the last post you met miniature horse Romeo, he of the cart-pulling. This afternoon we have 'taken delivery' of his two stable mates, Cody and Bob. Both of these guys have posh pedigree names longer than they are; Cody's is "something something Da Vinci Code" (sorry - I wasn't paying attention!). He's the dark brown and white, 'entire' purebred Falabella stallion. His 'oppo' is Bob, the pale brown Miniature Shetland who, like Romeo, is a gelding. I am not explaining 'entire' and gelding' - if you need to know look them up.

We are currently half way through the job of fencing the east field for sheep (which will also make it miniature horse proof) and when we have done that, probably Tuesday or Wednesday evening, all three horses can go in there for the Summer to keep the grass under control and eat off the rushes. These two are fortunately quite happy to live on the end of a tether short term, so they have been brought down early to eat grass round till the field is available. Romeo, sadly can't 'do' tethering, apparently and gets himself all tangled up and then stands pathetically waiting to be rescued, so he has to wait, but he has the big horse for company.

These horses are only a borrow. They are owned by our friends Charlotte, Carolyn and Keiran from down the road. With the current fodder crisis in this part of the country due to late, cool spring and everyone running out of hay and silage, Carolyn had not been able to get agreement on grazing these horses on any land so they were eating bought in food and living in a sand-school since last November. Well, now they have grass under their hooves and bellies full of the stuff.

The theory is that the east field will support these three mini-horses with enough spare for this year's lambs when we get them and between the two species we should be able to improve the grass and get rid of the cattle-damage (poaching) and rushes. I may have to brush-cut the rushes but the soft re-growth will be eaten by the horses and the grass will then out-compete the rush plants.

With both of our female geese now broody and apparently working as an efficient brooding team (much to our amazement) the poor ol' Gander is feeling a bit lost and lonely with no-one to talk to all day. He has taken to hanging around the Broody Betty run and her baby chicks, seeming to have adopted them to protect. Perhaps they bring out some of his father instincts being a bit like goslings, but what ever the reason he shouts and yells his warnings at any hooded crows or magpies which fly over.

When he's not with the chicks, he tends to hang about with the rooster and the Lovely Girls but they are a bit less welcoming of his advances and tend to give him a wide berth. Poor old boy! Still, the geese should sort themselves out one way or another between about the 22nd and 27th of this month. He'll either have real goslings to defend, or presumably we forget procreation stuff, all go back to normal and the three geese can wander about as before.

Finally, the 'always-female' rabbits are back from their 'dirty weekend' at Charlotte's. Padfoot, our black and white lop-eared has been mated to a purebred lop buck, Ginny, the grey and white not-lop sister has been mated to a black and white 'Dutch' pattern buck. Due date for these expectant mothers is June 2nd and they have, for only the 2nd time in their lives, been separated in case of any jealousy fights over nest sites, new born 'kittens', or just territory. They can see each other through the mesh and touch noses, but not get at each other. The 'formerly male but now female' Buck Rogers (now either Ginger Rogers or 'Nibbles' according to preferences) is now also pregnant but is now the property of Charlotte.

That's about it for this one. As I said, Two-horses but not in the 2CV sense! Have a good Bank Holiday.


Mr Silverwood said...

OK, I will say Em-J will not be able to wait to see the new additions, she seems to have a taken a real shine to horses no matter what the size since starting to work at the stables every weekend.

Matt Care said...

She'd be welcome of course but tell her to bring a tough ol' brush and curry-comb. These are woolly coated ruffty-tuffty mountain horses only now losing their winter coat and the dust from their sandy floor since November, well ingrained!

Mr Silverwood said...

She would love it, they can bring their grooming kits up, when we get the chance.