The kid went stampeding across the barn lot screaming bloody murder. You know, it never fails. At least once or twice a year we end up with kids in the barn without just the right place to put them. Then, when you turn them out to play a bit, itís just a mind blowing experience to them.
It can either be that itís winter and itís much too wet or cold to put them out yet, or summer and they do not have an age group to fit into. They might have been born late and all the other kids are in their pens and pastures, getting along reasonably well together, no major battles between them, everyone has a niche and is gaining weight nicely. You stick these younger kids in with them and the younger ones will take a beating, lose weight, may be left out in the rain because some other kid bullies wonít allow them in the run-in sheds. And, you canít put the older kids out with the main herd because the adult girls in that herd would treat them the same way and the younger ones get the worse of everything and you end up with a bunch of beat up, stunted kids.
So, there you are, with this assortment of younger kids still in the barn for their own protection. Sure, the stalls are large, twelve foot by twelve foot, and a lot of times we combine them to a twenty-four foot to twenty-four foot and we never crowd the stalls. That doesnít sound bad at all, does it? Except the kids canít quite get the exercise they crave.
Yes, they are bouncing off the walls in their stalls and doing fast spins and very short gallops from one wall to the next and they sure act like they are having a great time. But, still you fret. How to get them use to that slightly older group of kids, still protect them, and also have them get more exercise.
Our solution is a couple of barnyards, opening to the front and back area of the barn and on each side. That way young bucks have a place for a few hours to run and play and at the same time the young does have another place. Usually I turn the young doe kids out along side whatever pasture that I have the little older kid group that I want these girls to fit in with. That way they can run along the fence together, get use to each other some without the youngest ones really getting whipped on.
The first time I opened up the stall door for some young buck boys to come outside, they stepped out and looked at the great big world and said, WOW. They just froze. Then they took tentative steps, then did a cautious trot, and wham! It was off to the races with them.
They went at top speed in a straight line, made a turn, came charging back past me, turned, flew off in another direction, turned, came back and flew past me. The next thing you heard was them hollering for help. It sure sounded like they hollered, ďWhereís the brakes?! WhereĎs the brakes?! How do I stop?!Ē Because, usually they have a wall to stop them, now itís wide open space.
They get wildly ecstatic and scared silly at the same time. They wanted to stop and didnít know how, but then they really wanted to keep running too. Their eyes bug out in huge fright at their own speed, but exhilarated at the same time. They are screaming like something is chasing them, but I think they are saying, ďAm I fast or what?! But, whereís the edge of the earth? I donít want to fall off!Ē
Eventually they run down like little wind-up toys and stand there panting. Then heads fly up and they are off to the races again. It takes a couple of days of being turned out before they get the hang of it.
My little spring girls this year were a different bunch all together. I let them out for the first time to exercise in the wild blue yonder and they closely crowded all around me, chattering among themselves, as I tried walking them around a bit to loosen up. I felt like a planet with a bunch of little moons tightly rotating around me. Only my little moons would accidentally bump and collide and bounce off me.
Suddenly my little moons could take it no longer. They started bouncing straight up and down like little popcorns. They had so much energy but it looked too scary to get too far from me, so up and down it had to be. Finally they exploded out away from me, still bouncing straight up and down, realizing they had veered too far away from their planet (me), my little popcorn moons came explosively hopping back. But, figuring this might happen, I had stepped far out of their orbit and they collided with each other, which drove them farther apart and they actually starting doing hopping runs now, got scared and collided back together again. Which drove them even farther apart, their popping up down was starting to look more like running, and after a yard or two they scattered out from each other, back they came again and collided again. They were starting to look like little bumper cars now.
Well, that last collision sent them flying in one big group all around the barnyard, screaming at the top of their lungs in excitement and asking each other where the brakes were. Around they flew, and I very carefully stayed out of their path. I knew what would happen if they all were able veer towards me and I didnít get out of the way. I would be taken down and trampled by a bunch of little baby hooves.
You wonder how I get these kids back into the stall? After they have got their run out and have played a while, all that is needed is to shake a can of grain and my little kids follow me back to their stalls. They eagerly gobble their grain and donít complain a bit when I shut the stall door. After all that hard work of figuring out where the brakes were, itís nap time for each tired little group.