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Intern Diaries saboranch on 12 Feb 2010 11:00 pm

Sabo Ranch Intern blog- Jules Feeney essay for Field School- 2/7/10

Jules drives the manual shift Mitsubishi hay feeding truck with Kiril, Riley, and Jet the Labrador in the back

Jules drives the manual shift Mitsubishi hay feeding truck with Kiril, Riley, and Jet the Labrador in the back

Jules feeds the birds in the chicken house, his daily task since he arrived.
Jules feeds the birds in the chicken house, his daily task since he arrived.
Jules milks Jersey cow LilaJules milks Jersey cow Lila

 

 Throughout my first week here on the Sabo Ranch I have done many significant things that benefit the ranch, ranging from occupying the boys, to feeding chickens and ducks, to driving cattle. The job I do the most is feeding chickens and ducks before my breakfast. It is a simple but essential task. I have to make a judgment about how much they are eating from the amount of feed that is left over from the day before, and check on general health for the flock.

On my first full day at the ranch one of the three horses got very sick with colic (accumulated sand in its intestines from eating hay off the ground in the bare corral). Because of this, Jenny Sabo was a little agitated and nervous so she gave me rushed instructions that I did not fully understand.  As a result I did not give the calves the correct feed.  After a bit we sorted things out and got on the right track.  Earlier that day there was a mother cow and her bull calf that needed to be moved to a lower field.  We droved them into a long fenced-in area and picked out the mother and her calf. We then pushed (scared) them into the trailer so they could be transported to a better grazing field, where the bull calf would not be able to breed the heifer calves.

In the first few days I was asking many questions so that I could get more acquainted with the place, the people and the way things work. However, after a while I became more comfortable and was able to asses a situation and make a good choice on my own. For instance when I noticed a tub of water tub that needed to be refilled I jumped to do it.

The work that is most challenging is milking cows. There are four dairy cows but only three are producing milk at this time.  All of these cows have calves that need to become more comfortable with humans, this is accomplished by grooming each calf with a curry comb, which I have started doing while Jenny milks the mother cow.

Over the next week I hope to master the art of milking and to become more independent with more things than just feeding chickens and cows. Something that I have been learning on the side is how to drive a manual transmission vehicle. I also hope to master this in the next week.

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