Sunday, October 28, 2007

Way (Weigh) Wrong

I found a formula for weighing a burro: height x girth circumference x torso length, complete with a diagram showing where these specific measurements should be taken. After George became accustomed to my ruler - a piece of yellow baling twine - I was able to take his measurements today. And he weighs.............338 pounds. My eyeballed guess was 400 - 450, so I'm glad I took the scientific approach. And Alan is significantly smaller (by 20%?), which would put him at 271, though I won't even attempt to measure him up close - he's not ready for that. So I'm feeding them too much grass hay. But they're still growing, and they're eating dirt, which makes me crazy, and their manure contains a significant amount of sand already, and they're probably bored, having to spend their time in the confines of a small corral, which means they will continue to eat dirt and increase their risk of developing sand colic. All of which is to say I will continue to overfeed them with 4 pounds of hay 4 times a day until such time that they are out of their quarantine corral and able to spend part of their day in their pasture with something more to do than wait for me to come out to play. Overfeeding vs eating dirt/boredom balanced against growth and sand colic...I believe I'm doing the right thing but will closely monitor George's weight.

This morning, a pronghorn came onto the ranch with the sole purpose, I believe, of checking out the new inhabitants. I noticed Hank and Lyle getting pretty riled up out in the pasture, running in tight circles. Smooch started barking, then sure enough, I see a big buck moseying through, closer to the horses, the barn, and the corrals than I've ever seen one. George and Alan watched him, he watched them, Hank and Lyle resumed grazing, and I stood like a statue, watching everybody and trying to blend in. Later this morning, I went behind the barn to do some manure management and saw some fresh coyote scat on top of a fresh pile of horse manure –– clearly a deliberate attempt by the coyote to mark his territory, and it was barely 50 yds from the burro corral. I shouldn't be surprised by how the non-resident inhabitants of the land have noticed the new guys in town - they are far more perceptive than I. Yet nature continues to amaze me. A great blue heron flew over yesterday in the early evening - only the second one I've witnessed in two years. Surely the word can't be out as far as Bosque del Apache that a couple of burros have moved in at the 7MSN...good news travels fast.

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