Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Draft Animal Power › Oxen › Buying a Trained Team or Training Them Myself?
- September 8, 2014 at 1:25 pm #84001dlskidmoreParticipant
I’m a total newb to cattle not just oxen. I’ve been toying with the idea of oxen for awhile, and my current disagreement with my hay man combined with the expense of getting all my own equipment is making me think more seriously about this. There are still a lot of expenses to consider, but the tractor is one of the bigger ones, and requires the most maintenance work.
The guy around the corner was waxing poetic about his departed friend’s oxen, who had been purchased already trained from someone in New Hampshire. I immediately thought of folks on this forum and started turning that idea over in my mind.
A trained pair would be much easier for a newbie to work with, and hopefully the trainer would be available for a crash course and/or online mentoring.
On the other hand, training my own is fairly low risk if I’m willing to consider them beef steers if they don’t work out. I can find out if I really like working with such a large animal so often, or if the dream does not live up to reality.
Hubby is holding me to one new species per year, I’m currently on the fence between cattle and goats for next year.September 9, 2014 at 8:02 am #84008mlelgrParticipant
Two things need to be considered as you ponder this question: first, the training of steers/oxen for draft use starts at the bottle calf stage of their lives so there is a period of time between the start of training and when they are big enough to do heavy work for an extended period of time such as pulling hay equipment and second and probably more important is the old adage that always holds true when working with animals “green + green = black & blue”.September 9, 2014 at 2:45 pm #84010dlskidmoreParticipant
…and the bottle stage requires a lot more time and energy than even giving them a good daily training walk. It’s not just the training, it’s the baby raising. If I’m doing beef steers I can just let them wean naturally…
Can you recommend anyone that offers trained handy steers for sale? Short workshops on handling oxen? I think most of what I need to learn yet will be hard to learn in a book. Even if we could absorb it that way, nobody writes about how they hold their ears when they’re happy, or which body part twitches first when they spook…
I’m already stretched a little thin, I have to think carefully about cost/benefit. My husband is a bit worried about this idea and would rather I just expanded the sheep flock. It would be nice to have strong helpers for some jobs, but I need equipment to help them work, and I need to spend time with them and build the relationship.
- This reply was modified 5 years, 7 months ago by dlskidmore.
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