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Tagged: trained oxen
- September 2, 2014 at 4:52 pm #83988Sidney MorrisParticipant
Jersey Boys on Tour
“Jersey Boys on Tour” is a brief glimpse into the lives of two Jersey cows, Zeus and Apollo. To be more precise, they’re working steers and as of next week, when they turn four years old, they will be entitled to be called oxen, the moniker of maturity in the working cattle world. They were born in Vermont, grew up on Martha’s Vineyard, and are currently cooling their eight heels back in Vermont. I would love to bring them back to the Vineyard to maintain the tradition of working with oxen that has continued for hundreds of years, but my health challenges right now prevent me from being the caretaker they need. We’re looking for a farm to “borrow” them for a year or so…September 8, 2014 at 1:05 pm #84000dlskidmoreParticipant
Would you consider a novice? How much training would I need first? I’ve been interested in oxen but I have no mentor locally. (Although I know a few horse men.) I have 10 acres to pasture them on if it would be suitable to use temporary electric fence. My barn has a number of empty horse stalls for winter boarding. I have no draft equipment (unless you count my tiny little cart that we hook to the lawn mower), but there is a dealer around the corner that works with the Amish and might find me something. We could at least use them to haul some logging debris out of the hay field. I would want to use them to haul a manure spreader, a mower, a rake, and a wagon, but I would not use them a lot and they might need reconditioning if they have heavy plowing work to do the following year. I’d be willing to do demo work at a county fair, but I don’t have the time off work to do more than one.
I have a minuscule amount of experience working with draft dogs, understand some of the principles of good draft and drafting commands. (Although the oxen are strong enough to not worry about the extreme cart balance issues with the dogs who can’t have much weight on their backs.) My best trained draft dog died before being mature enough to handle the weight, my current pair contains a couch potato and a nutcase so I’m not doing much with them right now.
We currently raise grass fed lamb. We are still working on rehabilitating our pastures and need temporary stock that can help us with that while our purebred flock (and sheep proof fencing) is still growing into the space, and It would be a good opportunity for me to try working with oxen before putting the time in to train my own pair. Our other options are beef cattle or goats.
I am in Western NY. I have no livestock trailer but already know I need one and am looking. If they need to be moved right away then I’d need them delivered and they’d go in with the sheep until we got the next pasture set up.
I understand if you can find a more experienced home for them that you’d probably prefer that. They are probably better off with experienced hands and full time work, but I didn’t think it hurt to ask.
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