Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Effective microorganisms - Day 7 & 8

It looks like comparatively warm weather ends. There was quite a frost tonight. But no snow yet:



Bad news especially for our quinces, which were so imprudent, to develop new leaves recently:


I have had to de-frost the tap in our horses shed this morning:


before I could to water them:


However, our mares, having hay under their shed still in abundance (I hope to repair our trailer today and bring them new pack either this evening or tomorrow morning...):


nevertheless decided to go, as they every morning do, to the hoarfrost covered pasture:


Maybe, I shouldn't show you them at this stage - especially, that they did nothing particularly impressive and it's not easy to take picture of a grazing horse and made it splendid. However, I think that the improvement is already visible even in such a situation. Just look at their coats:




It's shining and there are "apples" on them!

Yesterday, we have begun to upgrade our daily round-pen exercises. With improvised "cavaletti" for the beginning.

However, in such a conditions outside, we have to wait until the sun would make the ground at least a little softer. Means until noon. For the time being, there is nothing left to do, just to sit in our hut near the fire:


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Effective microorganisms - Day 6

Yesterday I have bought a new oat. So, few minutes ago, I have prepared the EMs, the two bags of oat, another one with pellets - and started to prepare an evening meal for our horses.

Have mixed two kinds of oat, then added the pellets, then begun to think about all things I need to do tomorrow - including buying different parts necessary for fixing this small problem:


which is ABSOLUTELY a must, if I could transport a new portion of hay in, let's say Wednesday at last, then...

I have realized, that I've forgot to add EMs to buckets..!

Ah, let it be. Will give' em in the morning. Anyway - it looks like our limited goal is achieved. During todays exercises all three mares have shown... boredom. Probably we will need to saddle them soon. And to increase the variety and time we spend on exercises. Isn't it good..?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Effective microorganisms - Day 5

There is no doubt. It works! All four animals (three horses and a cat) have better appetite and theirs coats begun to shine.

Which is especially important in case of our cat. The mares are healthy and strong. They were just tired of pregnancy (all of them foaled for the first time ever...) and milking the foals. We have quite a limited goal in giving them EMs: to help them to re-build their bodies and to regain the strength before next year foaling.

But our cat is really old. I was almost sure, she won't survive this winter. Now - I think she will see another spring...

Only my own body shows no signs of change. Well: maybe I'm so well-off that there is nothing to improve..?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Effective microorganisms - Day 4

Half of the bottle disposed. The cat is visibly better (probably it's because we have finished all Christmas fishes, so she ceased to vomit out of too much food...). The horses - good, but I'm unable to attribute any changes to this treatment particularly...


So - what do you think about my initial plan, to dispose 1 liter of EM now, which will probably take another 4 to 5 days, and if there will be need and money - to return to this treatment in about 2 - 3 months time..?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Effective microorganisms - Day 3

Application successful. No recordable changes yet.

In the morning we gave a small portion to our old cat:


She is very thick now. Will see if this will help her to regain a little of her fat..?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Effective microorganisms - Day 2

At least we have one success: every patient has ate her portion!

No visible changes neither in behavior nor in bodies yet. They appeared to be LESS energetic during our todays exercises than last few days. But this could be attributed to the warmth of today's weather. Under their winter coats our tekes could feel too hot to trot...


Note, that:
- this is 17th day since Melesugun and Osman Guli have stopped to milk (Margire has stopped a month earlier),
- this is 15th day since we do light exercise on our round-pen with all three mares daily: Margire, who was lame two weeks ago walks, Melesugun and Osman Guli trot (Melesugun 15 circles each side, Osman Guli - 20),
- this is 10th day since we add them muesli with vitamin, copper, selenium and amino acids to theirs morning and evening oat: the pack is almost empty now and we will buy a new one in Saturday only, so there will be a two days break in this diet.

They look better now than two weeks ago. They have smaller bellies and some muscles have appeared. However, it is just the beginning. I have listed all these above in order to show you, how difficult it will be, to find what is the result of "effective microorganisms" treatment and what isn't!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Effective microorganisms - Day 1

I have recorded no visible changes I could connect to yesterdays treatment neither in myself, nor in our horses.

The application was going similarly like yesterday. Again, Margire has thrown her evening meal away, but later - have ate most what was laying on the ground (should think about de-sanding them soon...).


This is typical! She was behaving similarly when she was a foal, was growing slow and we have tried to give her sweet syrup with vitamins.

Anyway - I hope, she ate enough.

Will continue observation tomorrow.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Effective microorganisms - Day 0

We have bought the smallest possible dose of this treatment:


The purpose is to enhance our mares ability to absorb nutritive and mineral elements from the food, to increase the efficiency of their gestative systems and to turn on their symbiotic flora for the benefit of our next year foals.

Of course - it's just an experiment, as the opinions about "effective microorganisms" are divided. Like you may see, even the English Wikipedia doesn't know they might be used for other purposes than  organic farming and especially decomposing organic matter!

Dr. Teruo Higa with his experimental field

Todays object was to test the way we may give them the treatment. I have tried it the first.

The smell is terrible! It smells like a puke. Don't even think about kissing me now!

However, the taste isn't bad. It's sour and quite acceptable.

I have added 40 ml (according to the tips on the package) to each our mare evening meal (consisting now of 0,5 l of whole oat and 0,5 l of muesli).

Melegusun and Osman Guli have eaten everything. Margire at first have kicked her bucket throwing the meal out, but then have had to re-think the situation and eat most of what was laying on the ground.

So - "the day 0" looks like a success, since we have accomplished the first goal. We have to use all the package in no more than 14 days. In fact, we should finish it in about a week (giving 3 x 40 ml each evening out of 1000 ml big bottle). I will report you all the observations day-to-day.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Sunset light

Just couldn't stand when such a natural sepia was on the other side of the window this afternoon:


Have had to take my camera and went outside:


There is no Photoshop here. Not at all!


Just a natural, autumn Sun at half-cloudy sunset


When you enlarge the picture above, you may see two roe-deers standing on the horizon


In fact, the only thing I didn't manage to get was our horses: grazing in most trivial way


In uninspiring poses.


But what about these horses out of this world under strange Moon between rose clouds..?


While I was playing with camera, some of our friends were still working...


And the smoke from our chimney was going to the skies...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What to do..?

We've got embarrassing news from Petra, to whom I have transported Gelshah and Madeshir about a month ago. The first sign that there is something wrong with Madeshir came to us already in late June/beginning of July, when she was with her mother and father here, in Boska Wola. She was quite a big foal at foaling (probably the biggest among all our this year foals) - but she was born a month later than her brothers and subsequently, she used to grow at a much slower pace.

When she was a little more than a month old, I was quite scared about her fore legs and neck development.

However, we have dewormed all the herd and moved to the Great Pasture, where they have plenty of fresh grass and herbs and trees with green leaves. Within few weeks our youngest improved much.

Since her mother was also a small foal (not to reminding that she was hardly rescued at birth...), I wasn't alarmed with her size and big belly as long, as I've got the message from Petra:

The only thing I have to solve is that she is quite thin and underdeveloped - I thought maybe she has worms, but I dewormed them yesterday morning and no adult worms came out, so this wouldn´t be the reason of her condition. I measured her (height 116, chest 118, cannon 15,5) and she is on measurements of two months old foal. For comparison I measured our other babies, of course the older ones are much taller, but even the youngest one, Shergir, who is younger than Madeshir is much taller (129-133-16,5).

In fact, there were worms - they started to come out a little later. I may only confirm, that we have abnormally large infestation by bots this year. I have described this problem in my previous post.

However, according to Petra's vet, infestation isn't enough to explain Madeshir's case:

Madeshir has started to grow, but her scewballs are still with water. Yesterday we had here vet expert for foals and Madeshir, after the large invasion of worms and not enough sufficient or suitable food (I don´t know what she gets at your place, but it seems it was not suitable food for foals), has inflammation of guts and due to that is not able to use the nutrious stuff from the food. This is also the reason why she has so big belly (too much water in intestines). Vet recommended us to return for few months to foal´s milk together with some aminoacid concentrate, to rehabilitate digestive tract - he thinks this is the only chance to grow from her at least on an average developed horse.

Well, I feel ashamed and nearly devastated by such statement.

Madeshir her last afternoon here, in Boska Wola

In fact, I have only marginal influence on what our horses prefer to eat! For sure, they NEVER are hungry. That's impossible, as they are either all the time on the pasture - or (which will be the case when we will get a snow cover here...) have as much hay, as they only want.

I agree that our pasture isn't rich. Quite to the contrary - it's poor. We have poor quality soil (according to the Polish classification it's Vth or VIth "class" of soil, with only scratches of IVth "class") and our soil wasn't cultivated for about 30 years. Moreover, the whole region has excessive level of iron and manganese within soil - which inhibits absorption of others elements (particularly Copper which is why our horses have red highlights in theirs manes).

I try to improve the situation using mineral fertilizers - to the extend I can afford financially. And this year I couldn't buy the proper fertilizer which was simply unavailable at a time, I needed it. I have used simple lime instead of "a lime with micro-elements" I wanted to.

I explain this in so a detailed manner because our horse live from our soil. Literally. They eat what they can find at the pasture. Of course, I supplement their diet. Principally with the salt (I always try to find such a salt, which has the biggest number of additional elements!). Then, with a very small portions of oat (I used to treat oat as the "discipline mean", not as a food: I gave horses about a glass - half a glass for foals - of an oat twice a day in order to bring them to the water, check their health and make them slaver which improve their ability to graze - during the daytime when they usually have no appetite in the summer...). And a variety of different plants we have grown up in our garden:
- green, large grass or whole green cereals in the Spring,
- alpha - alpha,
- carrots,
- flax whole corn,
- green whole maize,
- green parts of Jerusalem artichokes.
These plants we have used to give to our horse in their "lunch-time" at about noon.

Herewith you may see Gelshah and his sons eating Jerusalem artichokes (mares and Madeshir preferred  to eat hay at this time - starting from the mid-October there is always a pack of hay under the roof of our horses shelter, so they could have the choice):


The movie presenting our herd eating carrots for the lunch, I have shown to you two posts ago.

The pasture is so big in comparison with the number of horses (this year we have had maximally 7 horses wandering at about 10 hectares big pasture...) that THERE ALWAYS IS SOMETHING TO EAT. I never scared about horses "eating bad things" as they always have choice. Even, if they eat bird cherry or oak bark - which I may notice seeing the sings on respective trees - there NEVER was any problem. They simply eat only small portions of these (apparently harmful) plants. Think they know better!

As we are left now with our three mares only (and we have had really bad weather these days...), after deworming the herd, we have moved them back to our "First Pasture", which is directly connected to the Winter Paddock. To their great pleasure I think, as the grass has grown fine here during four months break...

Margire, Madeshir's mother is our youngest mare and has the weakest position within the herd. This could be a problem, if I was keeping the herd together and feeding them together. However, as you could see at the movie, our system works quite efficiently - and the food I give to our horses is of marginal importance to their overall energy balance.

You may see that normally, Margire would stay apart when her older friends use the shelter and would have access to the hay when they allow her to. Madeshir wasn't that shy!

Moreover it looked like Madeshir own position within the herd was higher then her mother! She was quite confident and has better access to the hay, salt or water than her mother when the herd was staying under the shelter (during bad weather).

To sum up: what can I do to improve the situation next year? We expect three foals again. For sure, I will deworm the herd one additional time. But I have no idea how to prevent such cases as Madeshir - within the limits of our horse keeping system (which I still perceive as generally healthy and efficient!).

Besides - how it was possible, that Madeshir was affected while her elder brothers - not at all..? Shouldn't we examine the genetic causes as well..? The environment was equal for all foals (except the differences I have explained above: that Madeshir was the youngest and that her mother has had the weakest position within the herd). Two foals are strong and healthy. Only one is underdeveloped.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Deworming

As we have dewormed our 4-footed friends 24 hours ago, it was time to investigate what kind of "internal life" were they growing since mid-July when we did it last time?

There were some feces with no findings at all:


But most of them contained from one up to three bots:


Which is quite usual, as bots are principal "guests" of our horses intestines from the times immemorial.  Well - you see, they can fly when adult, so we can do little to prevent such visits!

But, their number is high in fact. I can't explain this. The frequency of their appearance in feces we have inspected this morning is at least two times higher than in July. We have used invermectin this time, being alarmed by Petra, who has dewormed Madeshir and Gelshah earlier.

It looks like we should deworm our herd more often next year. For the time being, we used to do that twice a year, with each change of the pasture (which was usually in July when, after collecting hay, we have moved the herd from the First Pasture to the Great Pasture and in November or December, when the grazing season was near the end and we have moved the herd to the Winter Paddock).

However, if bots are concerned, we can do that any time, as bots die when defecated, so there is no risk of secondary infestation after deworming horses and keeping them at the same place. Therefore, we plan to change our habit and deworm our friends in June, September and December next year.

Note, that this year wasn't particularly wet and warm (which usually enhances all kinds of infestation), we have had no new horses in our herd (except for newly born) and there was no unusual concentration of other animals (cows mostly) near our farm. Everything was like a year ago or two years ago...

Except for one thing only! This year we met unpaired with any previous experience number of Ixodidae here, in Boska Wola.


Normally, we have found one or two of them yearly. This autumn we used to find one or two each week. And mostly - on our foals furs.

What is a common environmental cause of Ixodidae and Gastrophillus plagues..? I don't know. Maybe some of you has any idea about that..?

If we should go back to the question of water, then the only difference I find between this year and the previous years here in Boska Wola, is the scale of beavers activity on a nearby drainage channel. This year the level of water there is, regardless the weather, at least a meter higher than previously.

But this is some half a mile away from our nearest pasture..?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Boska Wola on YouTube

Well, the quality is poor. However, it's our first try - and with mobile phone camera only.

Our herd sandbathing (couple of weeks ago, with Gelshah and Madeshir still here):


and, our herd (already diminished in size, as Gelshah and Madeshir went to Petra) eating carrots:


few days ago.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Golden Hours

I did few photos during so-called "golden hours" - in the morning and in the evening, when the sun is low above the horizon. Now, it's the time to present them to you.

At first goes the morning:





It looks like they are touching the electric fence. But, it isn't true! They were very close - but none of them dared to touch...








In the evening, the herd was grazing at our "Wild West" - a forest quite unintentionally left intact, when we were preparing our pastures at it's south - western frontier. It's their most beloved place in the autumn!