Baby number four has arrived on the farm.
Cow #162, Opal, had a big bull calf on 1/25/2017. Granite weighed in at 80 lbs, and has been moved into the nursery field with the other two cow/calf pairs.
Normally, I like to take a pic with both mother and baby, but Granite had other ideas. He chased the dog and the Gator around the field while his momma was busy eating hay. He only stopped long enough to pee then continued on his adventures. He eventually ran around enough to end up back by his mother before settling down on a pile of hay.
Snowcap was born on the wrong side of the river. After a little debate, it was concluded that the easiest way to move the pair to the other side would be to haul the calf in the John Deere Gator and the cow would swim across to join him on the other side.
Plum was a show animal so she is used to having us close by and did not get upset when Mike drove the Gator right up close to her and dropped the tailgate. It was another matter to get the stout bull into the back, he was heavy and pretty wiggly. Continue reading
# 7 was missing from the herd with the morning feeding. I looked down along the river near the herd, then on the far side of the field that was under the tall fir trees along the old railroad grade, without luck. So I took a hike out through the logged area, still without finding #7.
I drove back toward the house and over the bridge to the small 6 acre field and starting searching around the brushy areas around the outside of the field, there I found #7 with a brand new bull calf. All seemed to be going well with the new family, so I gave them a pile of hay to nibble on and left them alone.
In a few days, when the baby has a solid footing and is able to cross the river easily, #7 will move her calf closer to the main herd and introduce her baby.
Until then, she and her calf will enjoy this time of solitude and mother/calf bonding.
The bull, Septagon was born 4/9/2016 and weighed 75 lbs.
Our big momma cow, Chardonnay, has been doing double duty lately. A long time family friend had some grass acreage that needed trimming. This acreage had been used for grazing for years with six cow/calf pairs, but the farmer had sold his animals and didn’t want the responsibility of buying more to control his pastures. We trailered three of older mother cows, who were all pregnant, and sent them over to manage the pasture land for this farmer. These mommas are docile creatures and are always hungry. Since moving to this new farm, all three have been busy roaming from field to field, trimming the fast growing grass as they wandered. The cows have a barn to go into if they choose, with hay in the manger and minerals in a free-choice feeder.
The bunch seem very happy and have been growing their babies during this time. It’s almost like a vacation for them, away from the hustle and bustle of the main herd here on our farm. These momma cows each weigh about a ton, and when they are close to calving, look as wide as they are tall. The extra room to roam seems to work well for them as well as helping another farmer.
Chardonnay was close to calving, she had all the signs. Her udder filled with milk and she slowed her walk to a waddle as she grazed. She held off for several days as our friend, and his neighbor and we checked her daily for a new calf, we were all watching for the first signs of labor. Finally, without any assistance, she delivered a stout bull. The neighbor had noticed the little calf in the field and called the farmer who called us.
I was going to name him some wine-related moniker, until I got a look at him. This little guy weighed in at 87 lbs., and was hungry from the moment he hit the ground. I could not saddle him with any name that didn’t fit his strong personality or his brutish physical stature. His name is Tank.
Chardonnay is a good milker as is the nature of Black Angus. Her rich milk will sustain Tank until he is ready to start nibbling on grass and hay in a few weeks. He is already used to the other momma cows in the pastures and he travels as part of the little herd throughout the grazing areas. Chardonnay stays close by and if she needs to get a drink or some hay from the barn she walks Tank right along with her.
This group will continue to stay at this farm until the summer sun burns up the pastures. At that time the cows with their new babies will be returned home where they will be reintroduced to the main herd.
As we were preparing to feed some hay to the main herd, this bull calf came up from the woods with mud smeared all over his face. Continue reading
Topanga calved last week as expected with a sturdy bull calf. Roz on the other hand waited another week before she delivered ‘Rocky.’ All weekend it looked like it could be any minute, so we kept a pretty close eye on her, but she was just not ready.
On Monday morning, during the morning chores, I spotted her at a little grassy area just at the edge of the hillside. No assistance was needed, the calf weighs about 82 lbs. and started nursing as soon as his wobbly legs stayed under him where they belonged.