Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forum › Draft Animal Power › Oxen › I have a chance to train an ox. › Reply To: I have a chance to train an ox.
Hey all- I have been visiting Frye twice a week, and attempting to make arrangements to be more involved. He is the property of a living history museum, the Colonial Plantation in Pennsylvania. In April the farmer who bought him and raised him from a calf quit.
The priority of the Plantation is education and re-enactments, so there is not much cash for the animals. The fences are either snake fences or split rails that are falling down. Frye has a habit of getting out whenever Abigail, the ancient Belgian, is needed for a show and tell. The public will be petting her and Frye runs up and tries to mount his beloved Abby even though he is castrated. This is somewhat disconcerting to the educators.
The result is that Frye is kept 24-7 on a tether chain. He gets off the chain only when I visit. He is unruly when he is released, and there is no way I can control him. My job is to help move him from one grazing place to another. For this I have had to use Abigail, and he follows her willingly. Once he has bucked around and gotten some good grass in him, I use Abby to encourage him to come to his training area where we tie his halter to a short lead. We brush him and give him treats.
The situation seems quite hopeless at times, since I am only a volunteer at Colonial Plantation. I don’t think he should be kept on a tether, and there are alternatives, but my opinion carries little weight. Decisions about the animals have to go through the Board of Directors, some of whom are ancient. The decision process is glacial.
1)Frye is an important future resource to Colonial Plantation.
2)Frye may not be trainable under the circumstances, we have no yoke or anything for him to pull and very little experience with training cattle.
3)There will probably never be another steer at Colonial Plantation if we don’t manage to train him.
Fortunately, Nancy Kalal the teamster at Cranberry Meadows Farm has been very generous with her advice, as has Dale Parsons from Tillers.
Are there others who might be able to offer constructive suggestions other than “GIVE UP NOW!”?
Thanks, Sarah from SE PA