Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Buck and Dan - A Growing Oxen Team

Buck and Dan, our youngest oxen team, continue their lessons with Lead of Trades, Mr. Sanbury, and his mentor, Mr. Kinsey. Buck and Dan are from the short-horn milking breed and will have to learn about a dozen commands reliably as a team before they can help out around the farm. They’ll need to learn how to turn right and left (Gee and haw) stop (Whoa) go (step Up) go backwards (Back, This is the trickiest part!) and pull loads on sleds and wagons. They will also have to learn to be calm around all different types of people since they will be meeting our visitors regularly.

Since they will be working as a team for the rest of their lives, Mr. Sanbury has to be careful to put the right ox on the correct side of the yoke every time. These two look a lot alike, so we’ve put a red scarf on Dan to tell him apart. They are 6 ½ months old and very curious! It will be another season before they are big enough to pull a plow, but they are expected to surpass our current adult team, Mike and Tom in size when fully grown! That’s over a ton a piece!

Shorthorn milking cows are among one of the earliest breeds known in England. In about 1839, they started coming to the US because the females produce a large volume of milk, have easy calving, and produce long into their lives. In addition, they can thrive in rough pastures, have a good temperament, and are also good for beef. Mr. Sanbury reports that they are very intelligent as well, having learned the commands quicker than any other team he has worked with. They can even go backwards just as easily as forwards!

Here, Buck and Dan are 7 weeks old last summer.

1 comment:

  1. i have driven through Mumford over the years and noticed the Museum.... it is the exact design as my home!

    The shorthorns have alot to learn - I grew up on a dairy farm and it seemed the Holsteins needed quite a bit of teaching just to go into the right stall!

    Good luck! I look forward to watching updates on their progress!!!!