Sunday, December 20, 2009

Weaning Yalla - continued

The next day- Sunday

Yalla looks fine! She is completely unconcerned about her missing mama. Of course, she has never had a very strong need to stay with her mama. She seems happy to hang with her other pals out in the arena, especially Nadia.

Usually Yalla stays by Scout, but this morning, Scout was at the corner next to Baby Doll in her field and by Annie's pen.

Annie, on the other hand, poor Annie, is suffering from major milk overflow. Notice the swelling going down her belly? She certainly produced plenty of milk!
She is walking around slowly, like it hurts, and standing towards the back, in her stall, away from the fence line. I am withholding grain from Annie for a few days but I am giving her double hay so she can munch all day.

I left the three horses: Scout, Nadia, and Yalla, outside over Saturday and Sunday nights. Although it was cold, it was clear and they all have thick winter coats, so I figured they'd do fine.
Annie is stabled in the back stall with her fence adjoining the arena if she wants to socialize with them.
Day two- Monday
According to the weather forecast, a storm is moving in. I decided to bring all the horses into the barn tonight, just in case the front moves in overnight, instead of tomorrow. This was going to be challenging. Usually, I just put hay in their stall mangers and open the gates. The horses all know their stalls and head straight for them. Only problem is, what to do with Yalla? She has only been in through the barn doors a couple of times. I have been debating what stall arrangements to make. At first, I was going to leave Yalla alone in her back stall and put Annie and Scout together in the front stall and Nadia alone in the smaller, middle stall. Then I decided to leave Annie where she is, since she's been in for a few days already. So then, I needed to decide who should double up. I thought about Yalla and Scout but I don't want them to get so close they're inseparable. Nadia is a sweetie, but she's older and I don't think she'll get too attached to Yalla because she enjoys being a loner. I want Yalla to have company but not a buddy. Also, it takes Yalla and Nadia about the same amount of time to eat their grain so they won't be stealing from each other the way Scout might since I grain him least of everybody.
I went to the barn tonight, in the dark. Isn't today the shortest day of the year? My barn lights have been out of order for many months now. In the spring, a squirrel chewed through the wiring and my son is in process of digging and replacing the underground electric line. I don't know if or when he'll ever finish, but that's another story. I haltered and led Scout into the dark barn and into the small middle stall. Then I went back and haltered both Yalla and Nadia and led them both together. Yalla had issues with one area near the doorway where the drainpipe comes down from the roof and there is a pile of rocks. Nadia and I patiently waited and finally walked back towards her. After a few minutes, she smelled the pipe and rocks and reluctantly followed Nadia across the strange terrain. I led Nadia into the dark barn with Yalla following closely behind and we headed for the front stall door.
As Nadia stepped into her stall, which she's done hundreds of times, she slipped up. And so did I! We didn't fall, but what surprised us both was a huge, several inches deep, water puddle! We sloshed across it and poor Yalla, terrified, came into the stall too, wondering where in the world she was, what was she getting into, and where was her mama?? She always nursed whenever anything stressed her and she was feeling very stressed in the dark with that huge puddle of water right by the hay bin. I took off Nadia's halter and she went off to eat in the other stall. I petted Yalla a few minutes and then released her. Yalla was nervous, running back and forth from the manger near the puddle to Nadia's manger, eating a little at a time. She kept reaching under Nadia's belly to nurse and realized that she couldn't. Then she went over to Scout and nosed at him. He pinned his ears at her and went back to eat, realizing that nothing really bad was happening on their side in spite of the commotion.

I gave both Nadia and Yalla a half can of grain each in their feeders. Yalla wasn't sure where to go and she didn't want to walk in the puddle, but she's smart, so she stood in Nadia's stall and ate from the wrong side. Then I gave Annie and Scout a few mouthfuls of grain so they wouldn't feel left out.
It was time to assess the problem puddle. I decided that when my son, my other son, filled the horses' water this afternoon as I had asked, the leaking hose (yes, it leaks from a cracked crimp in the hose!) spilled over into the low spots of the stall. (I never said my horses don't paw the ground!!) Normally I let the drip fill the water tank but he didn't think to place the hose over the tank. And he was good enough to fill ALL the water barrels so how can I complain? I only knew that, by morning, it was going to be a frozen mess. I decided to grab the wheelbarrow and put some dirt in the hole to soak up the water. I dug shovelfuls of dirt into the barrow and started pushing it back into the barn. I guess the wheelbarrow has a flat wheel because it wasn't rolling. I struggled and struggled and finally, got it to the stall doorway. I dumped the dirt load, spooking Yalla yet again, and packed down the sloppy mud. At least it soaked up the standing water! I made sure Yalla was settled and eating along with the others and then I headed back to the house and some leftover posole. Yummy!

What a night!


fernvalley01 said...

Sounds like things are going well. Annie should start to have some relief soon

Sydney said...

Thats good that things are going well. I don't have lights in the back barn and need someone to help me replace the bulbs so I just leave the shed's lights on before it gets dark or I might walk into a skunk.

We tried a new method I thought up for Stormy's weaning last year. We tried separating her and Suz for two weeks but you think that bugger wouldn't let her nurse!
I got about 5 screws and an old foal halter and screwed them into the noseband. When she went to nurse she would poke mama and mama would first warn her. If she tried it again mama would warn again a little harder. She got the clue really quick for about 5 cents in screws.