Monday, April 5, 2010

spring grass

We got a lot done this weekend around our place. We planted a bunch of little pine trees, raspberries, blueberries, and a couple flower beds. We plowed and dragged the side yard in preparation for reseeding. We dumped a NICE big pile of well decayed cow manure on our garden spot...and we went to look at a mule! Todd wants to try a guard animal with his cattle in one particular pasture where they've had a problem with coyotes in the past. This last calving season, they didn't lose any calves to coyotes, but one calf did lose his tail. We're not absolutely sure it was a coyote that chewed his tail off, but it's likely. I guess it could have been a hungry fox too. It happened when he was still small enough where he didn't get up and run in response to the tail chewing. But, regardless, they have had a few calves lost to coyotes in the past. I did a bunch of reading up on guard animals and decided of all the species, a donkey would be best for us. I searched rescues (via petfinder), and we found a little mule. These pictures are from petfinder. She's shed out more since these were taken and a cute color for a mule.

She looks promising. She's a pony mule, so just a hair smaller than a standard sized donkey. She's only 3 years old. She chases dogs out of their pasture, and she's super confident and very friendly. She was rescued out of the slaughter pen at an auction. We went to look at her on Saturday and we like her. We are going to give her a try. The other nice thing about her is that she might make a nice kids "pony" by the time our kid is ready to ride. We'll just start working with her now. And we might even look into getting her trained for a cart. So, the pony mule is going to come home to us in a few weeks, most likely. I wanted them to get her feet trimmed first (they were very long and I don't want to mess with trimming an animal I'm not familiar with being pregnant).

The other excited thing that we did this weekend was get our horse fence finished and turned them all loose into it!

While I was working on the fence, the horses watched me with interest...almost as though they knew.

But we were taking to long, so they retreated to nap at one point.

When it was time, I went to get Cody to lead her out. Chico and Catlow saw the open gate and immediately went through ahead of us. The wild ones were a little leary about going through the gate, so I had to lead Cody back to encourage them a few times. The finally went through, everyone was loose, then it was time to RUN!

After the initial burst of energy, the tame guys settled down to graze, but the wild ones had to check out every corner of the pasture before they set to grazing.

Look at this handsome mustang enjoying his first real day of grassy pasture freedom since he was captured in November of '08.

I attempted to approach Kachina at one point, but she wasn't interested in letting me touch her. I figured that would be the case since they'd be all excited and interested in the new stuff, so I didn't push it.

In this shot, you can see our house in the background. I'm excited about having them in this pasture because I'll be able to see them more easily from our house.

They would eat for a while, then "spook" themselves and set off running in a big herd, then slow down to eat again before setting off running a little later.

The red buds on the maples, the warm sunlight backlighting the horses, and the new grass really show that spring has come to WI.

And off again! These next two pictures I took from the deck of our house.

And then, a rainbow to end such a beautiful day.

I only let the piggies graze for a couple of hours before luring them back into their boring pasture. They were quite disgruntled when they realized they couldn't go back out, but soon, they'll be out 24/7.


Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

Great pictures of happy horses!

I am so jealous you're getting a mule. I want a burro so bad but can't come up with a good reason to have one. The coyotes don't bother us.

Kara said...

They only bother the newborn calves. Once the calves get rambunctious, they leave them alone.

I wanted a burro too, but out here in WI, BLM burros are super hard to get. Few make it to adoptions here, and the ones that do get snapped up quick.

We looked at domestic burros, but given our potential multiple use ideas for the critter, we thought this mule might really be the best of both worlds.

Linda said...

We did the same thing a couple of weeks ago, and had to bring them back in. I love to see horses released into spring pasture! What a great view from your deck.