Join us in our adventure from city slickers to farmers on our modern day version of Little House on the Prairie. The CRITTER Project is our green living plan for a sustainable farm, featuring large-breed dog rescue, pit bulls, yaks, goats, chickens, gardening and wind farming. Since we're foodies, you'll also find recipes and information on cooking and preserving food.
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
It's a Baby Yak!
Born 7/2/2012 7:14pm
OMG it's happening!
We're trying to relax after a rough day
in town and car breakdowns. I look over at Yazoo and notice that
she's at the far side of the corral, lying flat on the ground in a
rather unusual way. The baby bump is getting bigger every day.
"I think it's going to be soon,"
I tell Quantum. "Maybe in the next couple days." The other
two girls are chowing down and I figure I should bring her some hay
of her own. Yonkers chases her away from the food sometimes.
Just as I get back inside, Quantum
looks out the window. "Oh my god! It's happening! It's happening
Zoozoo (that's still Yazoo - our pet
name for her) has her tail up and there's a pink bubble forming
I run for the camera. (Thanks again,
Mom!) "Her water broke," Quantum says.
Absolute terror sets into both of our
hearts. Neither of us has ever helped a critter give birth. We're
miles from the nearest large animal vet, miles from town, and we're
not even sure the truck will run. It had vapor-lock before, and we
barely made it home. Besides that, even though Zoozoo has become
relatively accepting of Quantum (and me to a lesser degree) we doubt
she'll let us help if she needs it. She doesn't like to be touched.
We've read that yaks are easy birthers, but as first time
grandparents, we're trembling.
Yonkers and Yeti are curious, but
Zoozoo makes it clear that she wants to be left alone, so Quantum
climbs into the corral and keeps them away from her.
We watch, helpless, as Zoozoo grunts and
strains and the bubble gets bigger and bigger. We can see tiny white
hooves inside the veil of the birth sack. And then it slips out,
landing on the ground, a tiny, motionless form of black and white.
Moments after birth.
"It's alive! It's breathing!"
Quantum says. Both of us slump with relief.
Zoozoo starts licking the baby and
eating the birth sack away. It's already clear she's going to be a
doting mother. We watch, enthralled, as the baby makes several
attempts to get to her (at least it might be a her, we're still not
"You can do it, Ferdie,"
This morning. 10 hours old.
"You do realize that whether it's
a boy or a girl, that's it's name." I say
He smiles over at me, his face alight.
We'd actually hoped for a bull-calf,
because we had considered studding him out. We'd like to get the
local ranchers interested in cow-yak hybrids. So if it was a boy, we
planned on naming it Ferdinand. We hadn't picked a girl name yet.
It's so tiny and perfect and fragile.
We don't care what its sex is. We're already deeply in love.Zoozoo
keeps licking away and Ferdie struggles to rise and plops back down
in the dirt several times.
Then she's up, tottering on the very
tips of her hooves. She can't seem to figure out how to use them yet.
She falls down again then finally rises and take a few wobbly steps
forward. Straight towards me. Zoozoo stands alongside her, but
doesn't protest Ferdie's interest in me.
Still a little wobbly.
I put my hand through the fence and
she comes over to me, her pink nose just inches from my hand. She
sniffs and gives a little baby yak grunt.
The two of us are stuck halfway between
laughter and tears.
The other yaks are very curious,
especially Yeti, but Quantum and Zoozoo make sure they keep their
We're surprised by her coloring. Both
of her parents are black Imperials with a white patch on their
foreheads and white socks. Ferdie is a Royal, like her grandfather
Sherpa, black in the front, white in the back, with spots and
patches, here and there, white legs and a wide blaze down her nose.
We go inside, and let them be, feeling
high and exhausted. It's going to be a long night, because neither of
us are going to get much sleep, especially with the coyotes living so