Sunday, May 08, 2005
duke and doc
After a good lesson on the steps needed to get the oxen into the yoke, Duke and Doc are ready to go to work. You can imagine, when animals this large are yoked together, they must work in unison, or chaos and injury will occur. These animals are highly trained starting as 3 week old calves. They are trained to respond to voice command, the body position of the driver, and by taps from the goad, which is a long switch. The switch does not hurt the animal, but gets their attention. At this point we have also fitted them with muzzles. Unless they're muzzled the oxen with simply eat everything in sight, and not get any work done. The light ropes on the side of the muzzle are tied in a way that allows the driver to just give a yank, release the muzzle and allow the animals to graze when they're taking a break.