Sunday, May 9, 2010

......On A Stanchion Built For Two......

That's not EXACTLY how the old song went, but it will have to do for now.

But, then again, it's not a bicycle we're talking about, either.

Last year when we brought Mabel home, I had to do some fancy rebuilding in the barn. I had a stanchion for a GOAT, but not for a COW. I decided that I'd build a "dual purpose" stanchion - one that had a spot for a goat AND a cow.

What I came up with might look a little unorthodox, but it works for both critters. Goats go on the "upper level", cows go on the "second floor" and the cats stay on the ground floor.

A couple of days ago, one of our does - Bunny - gave birth to twin boys. Since she is half Boer and half LaMancha, she has a bigger udder then the rest of the Boer goats. This, while it ensures her kids have plenty to eat, can pose a problem, if the kids aren't eating enough to "relieve the pressure" on mom's bag.

The first couple days, the babies do a lot of sleeping and don't eat a lot when they DO feed, so mom was feeling uncomfortable. She even resorted to pawing at her kids, and forcing them back to her udder. They just weren't eating enough to suit her.

Come EAT!!

Well - I had to do this last year, so Bunny SHOULD have been prepared. I rounded her up, and off we went to the stanchion. She did a few feeble attempts at hopping around, then realized WHY she was there and relaxed into being "relieved".

She was happy, the kids were happy (no more pawing), and the cats were VERY happy.

That was all a couple days ago. I've been getting Bunny on the stand ever since - twice a day - and helping to relieve her problem. This afternoon, I decided to do and experiment - put the goat AND the cow on the stanchion at the SAME TIME.

I know, I'm asking for trouble.....

Mabel got in first. I figured that I could handle a goat better then a cow if one of them refused to move.

So there we were, Mabel in her headstall, chomping away, Bunny trotting into the room, and me at the ready for anything. Well except for what happened. Bunny hopped right onto the stanchion, stuck her face in the pan and started eating! I figured there would be pushing, shoving, grabbing of horns and gnashing of cud, before the experience was over.

Twins?

Miss Bunny stood a little closer to the wall then usual, but the draw of food is greater then the fear of cow.

I even did another small experiment - I sat down on my bench I always milk from (it would be right behind the platform Bunny is on, and to the left of Mabel in the photo), put the pail under Mabel, and a pan (for the cats) under Bunny. I counted to 4.5 under my breath, then milked BOTH GIRLS AT THE SAME TIME.

It didn't last long, but it was fun while it lasted. Bunny finally decided she didn't like someone playing with her udder that she couldn't see, so I left her eat, and finished Mabel. Once Mabel was gone, then I sat beside Bunny, and things went smoothly.

I don't know how often I'll do it like this, but at least I know it CAN be done.

The things I think of in my spare time.....

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