trick to efficiency is repetition before speed," said Cox.
"You have to develop the right technique."
noted that some of his animals, such as his Belgian horses, learn very
quickly and doing something the wrong way, even once, can set back their
training by weeks or months.
of his animals are trained to enter the barnyard and go to their
respective places to eat. When Cox opens the gate, the horses file in
parade-style and head for their stalls. The cows also enter single-file
and take their places at the feed troughs in the yard. Even Cox’s
miniature donkeys enjoy the routine.
extends his routine philosophy to his family as well. "Since I
deliver babies for a living, I’m used to getting up early," said
Cox. "I get up at 5:30 a.m. every day."
said that children especially benefit from the comfort of a routine.
he may have his own way of doing things, Cox is certainly not afraid to
ask for assistance when needed.
help him with the design and construction of his barn and pastures, Cox
enlisted the help of Chris Edwards.
told Chris what I wanted and how I wanted the barn and pastures to
function and he built this for me," said Cox. "It has worked
barn has stalls for the horses and an insulated tack room. It also has a
loft for hay storage.
of Cox’s materials and equipment came from the Marion County Co-op in
Hamilton. Cox also depends on the Co-op for his feed, minerals and
animal health products.
has been a lot of help," said Cox, referring to Marion County Co-op
manager Steve Lann. "When I have questions, Steve gets me the
also enlisted the help of AFC’s Feed Nutritionist Jimmy Hughes to
calculate the number of cattle his 35 acres could accommodate.
has 20 head of long-horn cattle that share the land with the horses and
miniature donkeys. He sells the calves for bulldogging and roping.
also helped with developing a feed plan for the different types of
animals at the Cox farm.
help train his Belgians, Cox turned to Billy Gilbert to help with
technique. The result is saddle-broke Belgians that can also pull a
single and double plow.
it came time to do some dirt work in the pastures, Cox called on Ed
Trull to do the excavating work.
learned a lot just by asking for help," said Cox. "If you don’t
know how to do something, ask someone. There are a lot of people that
are willing to help."
many people would consider Cox’s place a hobby farm, he won’t
necessarily disagree with them. "This is my hobby," said Cox.
"I work so we can live on this farm and have this lifestyle."
about his favorite hobby, Cox said he prefers training animals, noting
the animals seem to find the routines soothing.
Sims is a freelance writer from Haleyville.