Tuesday, September 29, 2009

daytime turn-out

This is our third day of daytime turn-out after the long hot summer. I've actually been closing them into the front field instead of giving them the option to wander in and out, mainly because it's been really nice and I want them out and moving and getting back into the swing of this routine.

You can imagine the two who love it the most. This morning the dog across the lane was barking and the guardians trotted down front and center to check it out:

The rest of the herd lounged in the shade and let the donkey patrol take care of the dog:

I was working on fire ant mounds, which seem to be popping up suddenly. You can see why it's important to buy food grade DE:

Yes, he ate it. I'd nearly finished my dusting, so there wasn't much left. Lest you think I've lost my mind, some people feed this to horses as parasite control. It won't hurt him, but it gave him a very white muzzle:

You can probably guess who had to see what was going on:

I turned around and Rafer Johnson and the Big Bay had found their own treasure - a succulent young honeysuckle vine:

The sheer number of the shots I took of this is proof of how cute they were:

And of course Rafer Johnson plays it to the hilt:

Then Keil Bay gets in the game:

It was hard to put the camera away and get back to chores. I stood in the field awhile and had my own daytime turn-out along with the herd. Between daytime turn-out and grinding flax twice a day, there's no doubt we're heading into autumn.


Anonymous said...

it is not much difference than watching my dogs interact.
i am so lucky to have two dogs that adore each other - even at the pack predator mentality...

i loooove that fine fat paint boy!

Grey Horse Matters said...

They are such an adorable bunch. I loved all the pictures and can relate to just standing around taking pictures and watching the interactions all day. How wonderful for us to be able to enjoy our extended family this way on a pretty day.

Hope you get rid of your fire ants, they are nasty little buggers. I remember when Jacquie was a small child she was attacked by them at a campground in Florida.

Michelle said...

What fun, Billie! They sure are a cute gang! I had no idea you could feed DE as parasite control. I'll have to look into that.

billie said...

Hi, Deborah - the painted pony is such a character. We enjoy his shenanigans.

billie said...

Arlene, oh my gosh - poor Jacquie! I guess all the images of fire ants yesterday followed me into my dreams, because I encountered them, crawling all over my hands and arms, over and over again. Interestingly in the dream they swarmed onto me but never bit me! I kept wondering how I was being so lucky in the dream - that I was being besieged but never getting bitten.

billie said...


I know several folks who use DE as a major component of their parasite control program.

I tried it briefly and had no problems, but when I took Eleanor Kellon's NRC Plus class, the issue came up and her feeling, backed by at least one study, is that there is no way for the DE to work the way it's supposed to work inside a horse's digestive tract.

The DE works by dehydrating the parasites, but is not effective when it's wet. If you apply it as a pest control agent, you are supposed to do it when it's not going to rain, for best results. It can get rained on, and when it dries out it will still be effective, but during the time it's wet is not effective.

So feeding it doesn't quite make sense - the digestive tract of a horse is wet and soupy all the way through to the end, where the water is absorbed and the fecal balls form and then come out. At that point, when the manure dries out on the ground, the DE might well affect any parasites in the manure, including fly larva.

But... also including fly predators! And maybe dung beetles, who are our friends and good workers.

There is some speculation that people using DE think it works b/c they have horses who carry very small worm loads anyway. I don't know. I love the DE for fire ant control b/c it works, it's non-toxic, and I can spot treat the mounds. The bright white serves as a marker for the horses so they can steer clear.

Michelle said...

Thanks for the education! You are very well versed on this topic. =) I will definitely give this a try, as we have huge fire ant problems here in Fl.

billie said...

For fire ant control, this is the method that works best for me:

use a long stick to poke holes all over the mound

make a circle around the mound with the DE

then liberally spread the entire mound with DE

if you have a "puffer" you can shoot DE down into the holes

I have found that doing this daily for about 3 days works best to get rid of the mound

each day you'll need less DE b/c what you applied the day before will still be there and you can re-use when you stir the mound

there is also a method where you mix the DE with hot soapy water and use a pressure sprayer to shoot this mixture down into the mound - I have never done this but if problem is severe it might be better to start with this instead of my version

and, for the record, I do have a little bit of angst about doing this to the fire ants, who are, after all, trying to preserve their young when they feel the mound is threatened... sigh ... but after seeing what can happen to a horse who unwittingly stands on a mound, I decided my action is necessary.

As an added note, the donkeys stomp the mounds and have never been bitten! It almost seems to be an instinctual response when they see a mound - to destroy it.

Matthew said...

Such soft, gentle pictures of the herd. . .

billie said...

Keil Bay's in a soft gentle mood this week. He loves fall as much as I do.