|Better Farming Series 14 - Farming with Animal Power (FAO - INADES, 1977, 57 p.)|
You have chosen two oxen of the same age, the same size and the same strength.
· Men and oxen must get used to each other
Before beginning to train your oxen, you must get them used to being with men.
Putting the animals in a modern pasture is itself enough to make the animals used to the presence of men.
If a man is unkind to his oxen, if he hits them, the oxen will be afraid of the man and become vicious.
If a man looks after his oxen well, they become quieter.
The man and the animals must become friends.
· Teaching oxen to wear the yoke
Two days before beginning the training, tie the oxen for a few hours to a tree. The animals will get used to being tied, and will be quieter.
Always put the same ox on the same side of the yoke.
The left- hand ox must always be on the left, and the right- hand ox must always be on the right.
To get young oxen used to the yoke, you can put the ox which is to be trained along with an ox already trained. Be sure to put the left- hand ox always on the left, and the right- hand ox on the right.
When tie the oxen to be trained to the same yoke for 2 or 3 days. Let them go free for 2 or 3 hours, but keep an eye on them. To prevent them moving too much, tie a rope to a foreleg and loop it round the animal's back.
On the fifth day, get the oxen to walk in a straight line.
Do not hit them.
You need a lot of patience.
It is better to drive the oxen from behind; then the trainer disturbs them less.
When the animals are used to wearing the yoke and to walking side by side, tie a chain or a rope to the middle of the yoke, and to the other end of the chain or rope fix a piece of wood weighing about 40 kilogrammes.
When the oxen are used to wearing the yoke, and to walking while dragging something, you must teach them to walk straight ahead, to stop, to turn to the left, to turn to the right.
You can get oxen to obey at the words:
The driver's voice should be the chief means of driving the oxen.
You have to do the same movements over and over again.
The oxen learn to obey by this means. To get them to obey better, you can give each one a name, and give them orders by calling their names.
You must teach the oxen to walk steadily in a straight line.
At the beginning of training, use the oxen only for light work, such as cultivation and light transport.
Gradually make them do more tiring work. After ten days, harness the oxen to a plough (see page 42).
The oxen must walk in a straight line, and pull steadily. To begin with, do a light ploughing (see Booklet No. 7, page 8).
At the end of each furrow, let the animals rest for 1 or 2 minutes.
In this way the oxen gradually become used to all kinds of work, and the farmer also becomes used to handling the tools.
In some places there are animal training stations where the farmer can learn how to train his oxen.
Remember that oxen should not do very tiring work before they are 4 years old (see page 16).
The animals must do some work such as transport even outside the main farming season; they must not lose the habit of work.