Well, the beast is back!
Mr. V. brought him back the week before Christmas. This time we got a halter on him and here he is in his new stall in the barn as suggested by the more experienced ox drovers I've spoken with.
Ken fastened an iron bar to the post and he's secured to that with a chain with swivels. The ring on the chain slides up and down the pole when he stands up or lays down.
The barn floor is dirt and we were concerned about a mud hole forming underneath him so we dug a pit in the center of his stall and filled it half full with gravel. We placed a pallet on top of that then continued to fill in with the gravel. He's kind of standing on the wood slats of the pallet rather than straight gravel. It's working out well. In the morning I take out the poop and any wet bedding then push the dry stuff to the side so the damp area can air out and dry. He stands up all day anyway so he doesn't need bedding. Then in the evening I clean out the poop and spread dry hay under him so that he's nice and comfy for the night. I thought having a cow in the barn was going to be a major pain in the neck but he's very easy to keep clean. He's really come a long way. He's no longer quite as intent on disemboweling me whenever I go in there! Gosh, when he first came he would give me the evil eye and get ready to charge whenever I walked by. Since he's realized where his food and water comes from he's starting to look forward to seeing me and begins mooing as soon as he hears my footsteps. He'll now let me scratch his shoulder while he eats, which I think is quite an improvement. I still move very slowly and keep a close eye on him but for the most part as long as there are apples in the offing he couldn't really care less about anything else. He's also learned the command "over" and steps to the side while I clean out the soiled bedding. Yesterday I was able to brush him a little bit.
I guess February's goal is to be able to brush him all over and live to tell about it!
Oh and here area a couple of ox and oxen related t-shirt designs I just uploaded to the cafepress shop.