Stories of life on our farm in Northwest Georgia where every day is an adventure in this beautiful spot that God has entrusted to our stewardship.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Macree's Big Day

Today ended up being a big day for Macree, considering it's only the third day of her life!

She spent all morning sleeping and eating, and this afternoon Herb and I went looking for her. She's so little and the grass is so tall that it's like a scavenger hunt.

Once we found her, Herb patted her, and we both sat down beside her.  We had two surprises for her--one good one and one not so good.
The good surprise was her very own, brand-new mini Dexter halter in the smallest size.  It came with a pretty rainbow-colored lead rope.  As you can see, the halter is huge on her, even in the tightest holes.  She just lay there like a pro and didn't bat an eyelash.  Sweet Macree!

The next surprise was not the fun kind.  It was time to get some tail hairs for DNA testing.  I sanitized my hands and laid out clean paper towels and proceeded to yank out one tiny clump of hairs at a time.  Macree flinched--period.  Herb patted her, and this is how calm she stayed.  It took about eight little yanks, and she only flinched one more time.  Sweet Macree!

Then Macree was ready to get up and join mama, who was hovering nearby, so I let her lead the way with both mama and me following along.  I wanted her first experience with the halter to be very easy.

I don't think Macree had any idea she was having her first test lesson!  I'd say she passed with flying colors.

When she got where she was going she stopped.  I patted and praised her for being such a good baby!

What a doll!  Just as calm as she can be!  After she got some more pats and praise, I took off her halter.  We don't want any accidents to happen with a tiny hoof being caught in a loose halter strap.  Being able to walk up to her and halter her is one of the lessons she has to learn, anyway.

Macree is about to undergo several more tests, but she won't even know it.  Her tail hairs (above) are going off to Texas A&M to get genotyped and tested for chondrodysplasia, PHA, and A2 milk.  The genotyping will prove that FF Lil' Christmas Cash is her sire and that ZH Zephyrhill Siobhan is her dam.  Chondro is a test for short- or long-legged, important to know for breeding, although either result is acceptable.  PHA tests for a genetic disorder that Dexters can have, but we know Macree is negative since both her parents are.  Finally, A2 is a test for icing on the cake!  If she should turn out homozygous A2, that's the icing!  Siobhan is heterozygous, meaning she is A1/A2.  (I'll do a post on this subject soon.)

We want to breed for a homozygous A2 heifer to be our family milk cow.  If Macree should be homozygous, we'll keep her.  If she's not, hard as it is to contemplate at this point, we will most likely sell her.  If we wanted to breed Dexters to sell, Macree would have a home here forever!  Unfortunately, we just want to breed enough for our own beef and milk, and that means two cows.  Siobhan is one, of course.  I won't hold my breath, seeing as there's only a 25% chance Macree could be homozygous, but it sure would thrill our hearts if she was!

Above is the "high tech equipment" used for DNA testing and the fancy ziplock bag containing the tail hairs with the root bulbs containing the DNA.

Macree, by the way, was completely unfazed by her eventful day.  I looked outside later and could see the upper half of Siobhan above the long grass, but no sign of Macree.  Suddenly a little black tail shot straight up in the air, like a standard waving above the grass, and went hopping and bouncing in a circle around Siobhan!  Then boing, boing, boing, the tail bounced off down the hill with Siobhan trailing behind it.  Silly Macree!

Macree's big day ended like this.  That's some pretty amazing nursery decor, to my mind!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I LOVE comments so please take a minute and let me know you were here! Sorry I have to use Captcha, but I hope you'll comment anyway! Comments make my day! :)