Monday, April 22, 2013

Moo Moo calf goes for a walk, Sagitta chickens, Training Apache

Moo Moo cow might have the name Norman. That just popped into my head today and it seems to be sticking around. I don't know where it came from. My Uncle Hank had one of my chihuahua puppies a few years back named Norman. I honestly didn't think of that till after Norman came to me for the calf. We'll see if it's still sticking there after I go to sleep tonight and wake up in the morning. .

The calves Andrea have next door have gotten loose a few times, and trying to make those stubborn buggers  go back where they came from with just some flapping arms and loud yelling doesn't always work so hot. When they have their tail in the air, running from you and bucking all you can do is cuss and fume at them. Also eventually they are going to have to load in a trailer to go to the processor. Right now Norman is still small enough that I can manhandle him if necessary.

I have a dog harness hanging out in the garage. I don't know where it came from. When Andrea had her first calf this year here for the night we used it to lead him over to her place with her leading and me pushing from behind to keep him moving. I put it on Norman. He wasn't thrilled. Jerseys like to throw themselves down on the ground and decide to die instead of walk on a leash. Here's Andrea and her calf with the harness as a halter.

I had to pick him up to get him out of the pen. Then I stood there and played, "Be the tree." That means I stand there not moving and let him pull on me until he realizes it doesn't do any good. The first real pressure on his head and neck he flopped over on the ground. Not layed down, he just fell over. So I let him lay there. It took a minute or two before he decided that wasn't and fun and stood up again. We did the sand up, fall over thing a few times while just shook my head. It wasn't too long before he was up and running circles around me. He learned to walk with me without too much fight. We went out in the pasture on the long lead rope for him to run and buck a little. Tomorrow we'll try again and I'll get Scott to take some pictures.

Apache's turn was next. Yes he already knows how to lead. He knows how to be rode too. Now that he's almost completely blind he needs to learn the verbal cues to help him keep his manners while walking next to a person on the ground. We did a lot of stopping after I said, "Whoa." I held my arm up every time from his totally blind side and let him bump his nose against it. He didn't like that too very much and is learning to stop when I say whoa.

The big thing was walking just a step or two and whoa-ing coming in and out of the gate to the round pen. He knows the sides of the gate are right there and is very nervous about it. After the fifth time in and out he was standing there for more than a minuet in the gate and waiting for me to cluck to him to step forwards. We went out in the pasture and I let him eat some grass for a while as a reward.

I lost one of the little red chicks Saturday night. It was lethargic when I got home from work Saturday. I tried getting it to drink some water, and put it in a small box under the heat lamp so the others wouldn't peck it to death. It was gone Sunday morning with Scott got home. I went back to Valley after work today and picked up three more. I didn't really pay attention when I was in there the other day to what kind of chicks I was getting other than the Creep Meets.

I looked at the names today. I don't know what the little yellow smudged looking ones are, or the yellow with the black spot. The reds are Sagittas. They are a breed developed by Dunlap Hatchery here in Idaho.

"The Sagitta is a dual purpose bird that is a cross between a Rhode Island Red, New Hampshire Red and Cornish Cross. They are a heavy, docile breed that will provide large eggs as well as a nice size bird on the table."
I have five of them now. They are a slower growing bird than the Creepy Meats, and are good layers of large brown eggs from what I Can find on the net by people who have them. So I can put any roos in the freezer, and they are good egg layers. I can free range them and not worry about them like the Creep Meats. We'll see.

I had to switch from the hay I had in the bottom of the trough to shavings. I forgot to get hay when I got the chicks and had to wait till I got payed today to pick up the shavings. These things are the eatingest, poopingest creepy things ever. You have to really watch the food intake in the creep meats. They can grow too fast for their hearts and legs to keep up with. I take the food out around eight at night and put it back in in the morning. They SWARM frantically like they have been starving for weeks and they aren't barley a week old.  

None of the big girls feel like going broody yet. Everyday I count chickens hoping to see three and there be one in the box on eggs. Not yet. 


  1. Isn't it amazing how food-crazy the meat birds are? Like we've been starving them or something. My daughter is actually a little frightened to go in with the Creepy Meats now as they basically run her down when she goes to feed them!

  2. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

  3. Norman was the name of the Jersey calf in the movie "City Slickers".

    I just picked up 10 Sagittas (Sagittai?) this week. Nice looking birds - we'll most likely butcher them in the fall as over-wintering is a pain for us.

    Cheers from Quebec!



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