Monthly Archives: April 2012

Update on Rat Terrier pups…

Not much going on here at the ranch, although Chris and I have been plenty busy. Irrigation season has started, and for the moment, we’ve got a lot of water to play with. They’ve added pipe where I’m irrigating at, and we’re still working on fine tuning them.

EmmaLee and the pups are doing well. They’re really quiet, so Momma must be feeding them well enough and keeping them warm. We don’t hear much out of them yet. Their eyes are open, and they are getting around a bit better, not quite walking, but not crawling as much either. It’s a bit rough on Em, as she wants to be with me and the other dogs, but she also wants to be in the house with her puppies. I just let her know that before too long, they’ll be all grown up and will leave the nest before she knows it. I’m looking forward to when the pups are a bit older, and we can start taking them outside and playing with them.

I’m curious as to how their personalities will develop. Their dad is a very active little guy, while Em is a bit more laid back. She loves to hunt. She also helps keep control of the mice that the cats bring in thru the cat door. Sometimes they’re not dead, which is a bit irritating, to say the least. But Em sniffs ’em out before they get five feet within the cat door. Dr. Houseweart says that Guero is quite the hunter too, so these pups should be game little guys.

I’m curious too as to what size they will mature to be, as Em is bigger than Guero. He’s considered more of a miniature Rat Terrier, while EmmaLee is a Standard Rat Terrier, with about 25% Decker lines from her sire, Tank. I don’t know how  much Guero weighs, but Em is around 24 lbs. and about 16″ at the shoulders.

Here’s the latest photos of the pups. I took them yesterday so they’re just shy of 2 weeks old. If anyone has some tips on taking pictures of baby puppies, let me know! These guys are so wiggly, except for when they’re sleeping, that it was almost impossible to get a decent photograph of them.

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Rat Terrier puppies, new goslings and irrigating

Some new happenings have occurred over the passed week here at Singing Bull Ranch. EmmaLee had a litter of three male pups last Sunday, our goose hatched out 5 of the 9 eggs she was laying on, and irrigation season has started.

Guero, pups and Em

Guero, the puppies and Em

I had bred Em to our vet’s little Rat Terrier in February, as he has a waiting list of people asking for pups from him, and I’m thinking of spaying Em as she turned 4 years old last fall. Last Sunday morning the poor girl looked miserable, so I stayed home and hung out with her so I could keep an eye on her. Around 3:00 pm, she started labor and about 20 minutes later she delivered the first little guy, butt first. I got a bit worried for a minute when I realized that the head hadn’t come out yet, but she got him out just fine and quickly started taking care of him. The second guy, a robust puppy, followed quickly on his brother’s heels and was born about 20 minutes later. The last little guy was born around 5:00 pm. The first and the last pups are solid chocolate with white and tan markings, kinda hard to tell them apart except for a white spot on top of their head. The big boy looks like his momma. He weighed in at 8 oz., his two siblings about an ounce less. Funny how just an ounce can make a puppy look huge compared to his siblings.

Em and her boys

EmmaLee and her three pups.

It amazes me how the mom’s instincts quickly tells her what to do when she delivers a baby. EmmaLee knew what to expect with the second and third pup, and settled right in. Nursing was a bit strange to her, and she still accidentally steps on a pup every now and than, but they are growing steadily, and appear very healthy. We don’t hear much from them, as they’re either sleeping or eating, so they must be getting plenty of nourishment, and are warm. The rest of the critters were kinda curious at first, but Em disapproved of them getting too close to her new kids, so they ignore them now. Tucker really wanted to check them out, and Em let him close to the box, but she had a funny look in her eye, so I told Tucker he’d have to wait and play big brother to them when they’re a bit older.

Goose and goslings

Goose, gander and goslings in chicken courtyard

Also this week, I noticed one gosling hanging out by the goose’s nest, then a few days later, she had 5 little goslings chirping at her feet. Mom and Dad are quite attentive. Yesterday they just took them out in the courtyard where the water comes in, but today they had them out in the field. Unfortunately, they also are teaching them to be unfriendly to people, so I need to separate them and raise them by hand, as we need to sell them. I hated doing it, but I don’t know if they will be meat birds or someone’s pet/weed eater/decorative lawn bird, so I’d prefer them not to think attacking people is the right thing to do.

Chris and I started irrigating for our neighboring rancher this week too. Chris does the ranch property, which is around 1,000 acres, at a guess. I know it’s roughly a mile long from one boundary to the other, so 1,000 is a good guess. I’m irrigating the pasture he’s leasing from the elderly lady to the south, which is around 400 acres. This year might be a short irrigation season, as there is very little snow in the mountains, and we’re already up in the 80’s. While it’s nice not to be freezing, wet and muddy, it is way too hot for April and looks and feels more like late summer. The pastures should be green and the grass tall, but not even the weeds are growing like they normally do. We’re hoping that we will get some moisture within the next month or two, otherwise, it is going to be a long, hot summer.

Fence Work

Pasture fence

Pasture fence

Yesterday I took apart more fencing. This time it was a fence out beside the paddock area. It was a bit of a challenge, as most of the fence posts were not really in the ground that deep, so as I worked on pulling out the fencing staples, I had to hold onto the fence post with one hand while I pried out the staple with the other. You can see how some of the fence posts are not straight up and down and look a bit wobbly. Fun stuff!

End of the fence post

End of the fence post

You can tell in this photo that whoever put it in, didn’t spend much time making sure that it would be a solid fence. It should be in pass the frost line, not just a few inches in the ground. I’m surprised it stayed up at all. All of the fence posts are like that around here, so the entire fence needs to be replaced. The cows, mules and horses get to rubbing on them, and the posts just about fall over. That doesn’t keep the critters in very well. The fence also has been walked over by critters, so is only half the height it should be along the back of the modular home. That is one of the first sections we plan on replacing.

We went in for lunch, planning on working on the fence by our house, but we decided since it is Easter, we’d relax a bit and enjoy the day. Here’s a short video that Chris took while we were pulling out the fence posts.

Reno in the paddock

Reno in the paddock

Friday I moved our three bulls in. The rancher to the north of us now has part of his herd on the pasture that borders our fenceline. Knowing how bulls are, we decided it was safer to have them in a stronger enclosure than risk them walking through the fence and romancing the neighbor’s cows. That doesn’t make for good neighbors. We plan on putting the horses and mules on the front little pasture with a large round bale and allow the cows out in the main field. I was hoping to do that this weekend, but it didn’t get done. Hopefully in the next few days we can switch them out.

Here’s some more pictures I took while pulling down the fence. Tucker is shown here guarding me from Elliott, our Dexter bull. I  was waiting on Chris for a minute and decided to get a picture of Elliott, who is now in the paddock. Tucker had been hunting with EmmaLee and Sage in the neighbor’s field. I squatted down to get a picture at eye-level with the bull, and the next thing I know, Tucker was right between us. I hadn’t said a thing, but Tucker had been watching out for me, even though I thought he was off playing in the tall grass next door. He still amazes me sometimes!

Cows and horses and mules

Bally and Wink

Bally and Wink

Now that March is over, we have only had the twin calves born here so far. Two of the cows out in the main pasture have slipped (aborted) their calves, for unknown reasons. We took the other four cows to have them preg-tested, and they are all pregnant. Time will tell. We both would like to see a few more calves on the ground.

The other day, luckily my day off, we saw the horses and mules run passed our front window. I went out to catch them up as Chris left for work. Since several of them needed their feet worked on, I decided to bring a few of them in and trim feet. Junior, our youngest mule, needs to be worked with and trained, so I pulled him in too. It was a rather enjoyable morning, the sun was shining, sky clear, and the day pleasantly warm. I groomed Junior, dug out the surcingle, and started with just laying it over his back, letting it flop a bit on his other side and down his rump. After about 10 minutes, I told him he was  good boy and put him in  one of the empty stalls. I groomed Otis and put him in a stall beside Junior. Next was Delta. Her front feet aren’t the best, so I trimmed down the heels a bit and then ran a curry comb over her to help her shed off her winter coat. After that, I gave her some sweetfeed as a treat.

Clemmie was tied up at the end, waiting patiently. She was a bit perplexed when I didn’t feed her any sweetfeed, but she knows not to be a pest about it. I dug out the shedding blade and really worked her over with it. With a bit of difficulty, I trimmed her feet. They seem to be as hard as a rock, but they are also a little flexible. My hands aren’t strong enough to trim her hoof with the nippers as well as I’d like, so I usually end up taking the rasp to them and rasping them down. After that, I scratched her in her favorite spots, and just gave her some one-on-one attention. Both of us needed it. I feel more at peace with myself and the world when I’m able to work with horses, and I really miss working with my mare. Before I turned her back out, I gave her some carrots and sweetfeed, which I know she appreciated. Now that the weather is warming up, I plan on bringing her in more, if for nothing else, just to love on.

I had planned on bringing in the unnamed mare, and switch her out with Otis, but Chris and I decided to leave both the mules in the paddock for now so they get used to not being with the herd. When we turned them out yesterday morning in the paddock, they were pretty upset that they hadn’t been turned out to the pasture. By today, they were starting to settle down. In a few more days, we’ll start putting them in their stalls at night, then turning them back out during the day, then start working with them. Otis needs a bit of a tune up, and Junior needs to be trained on the basics of packing as well as riding. So maybe this week I’ll bring the mare in and put her in the stall beside the mules.