Having a farm that is bisected by both the county road and the river sometimes works to our advantage. But some of the time it doesn’t.
The list of pros include;
- the ability to keep bulls in the bull pen with quite a good space between them and the main herd. The growing ‘teenagers’ have enough going on during this testosterone laden time, they don’t need to be pacing fences and being distracted by up-close females.
- keeping a distance between weaning calves and their mothers. Same reason as above except not a lot of testosterone or hormones on the calf side of the divide.
- distinguishing barn cat colonies and keeping them in their own ‘neighborhoods.’ Same reason as above except it is nice to have constant mice control on both sides of the river.
The cons include;
- moving an animal from one side of the farm to another can take a series of maneuvers that will take up most of a day.
- with understandable confusion about who owns land on which side of the road; when neighbor cows get out, helpful passersby assume they should assist by opening our gates and shooing the neighbor cows into our pastures. (This is a another whole story that I will have to relate to you at a later date).
- weather related issues causing flooding can hamper access crossing the river (rarely).
As I look over the pros/cons list, I would say they look pretty evenly matched. Except that the cons tend to take more time, effort and equipment.
Two animals needed to be switched from their current positions. The herd sire needed to be moved from across the river to the herd at the show barn (these are the young heifers and the cow/calf pairs that are pampered before the fair circuit). The cows have calves several months old now and need to be bred to produce a calf next year. One of the young heifers in the show barn was only 11 months old and too young to be bred, so she needed to be transported over to the main herd (the same area that the bull would be transported from).
Young heifer from show barn to main herd and bull from main herd to show barn, a simple switch-a-roo.
Then comes the dough-see-dough…
- Animal from the show barn need to be contained (they just think it’s breakfast time, no biggie there).
- Animals from across the road/river need to be contained ( a little more effort since they do not usually go into the barn to eat, but they get locked in).
- The stock trailer needs to be attached to the pickup truck.
- Series of gates opened and stock trailer backed to loading gate of barn.
- Young heifer loaded into trailer (just a note, even though the young heifer is used to human contact, she is not broke to lead. She has other ideas about getting into the trailer. Her idea is that she won’t. Another heifer that is planning on staying on this side of the river is haltered, and walked into the trailer and tied up front. The young heifer sees the other girl in the trailer already so she steps in, finally).
- Trailer is taken back through the series of gates that need to be closed.
- Trailer and two heifers are driven across the river where a series of gates are opened and trailer backed to loading gate of barn.
- Young heifer is released and penned as haltered heifer is still tied in trailer.
- The haltered heifer is un-haltered and put into a pen with the herd sire so the two can be put into the trailer together without ropes.
- Herd sire and heifer walked into trailer.
- Series of gates opened and pickup pulls away from barn.
- Series of gates closed as trailer is driven across the river.
- Series of gates opened and trailer backed to show barn.
- Bull and un-haltered heifer are released to be with show herd.
- Trailer moved away from barn and we are back to closing the series of gates.
An easy task at the farm was this simple switch-a-roo, and it only took 3 hours…..