Critters have their own way of dealing with weather. Thunderstorms with bouts of heavy rain brought the two remaining bulls from the bull pen, out of the comfort of the barn, and out under the big leaf maple tree.
The two bulls were not so worried about the showers as they were waiting for the leaves to grow heavy with rain so they drooped low enough to snag a tasty morsel.
Bull #35 figured out the plan first. As the rain came down, he stood near the electric fence with his backside toward the trunk of the maple tree. He stood in one place for about 20 minutes, but I could tell he was thinking about his snack because he was licking his chops and swinging his tail the whole time.
The rain continued, the leaves and entire branches got heavier and heavier with moisture and began to sag.
As the branches got lower, he was able to stretch up, curl his tongue around a few leaves at a time and give a good yank. He would get only a mouthful at a time while getting a cool and refreshing shower. The dampness didn’t deter him from enjoying the wet and tasty maple leaves. The other bull joined him when he realized he was missing a tasty treat.
The bull pen is dramatically down from our original eleven critters we had for sale in early spring. After a slow start, bull sales are picking up for this year.
Last week, two bulls #30 and #32 were delivered to a large cattle ranch in Idaho, and Thursday Mike delivered #33 to a farmer in McMinnville.
Still left for sale are #31, Coffee and #25 Turbo… Hold it, Hold it. I spoke too soon, we just had a call and a farmer from out by Rainier who is showing up today with his trailer ( we always get kind of giddy when a buyer says they is bringing their stock trailer, it is code for being a serious buyer with plans on putting something in the trailer before going home). This farmer believes he wants the older bull, #25 Turbo (this is the one that has been at a neighbor farm doing grass control duty with a few of our other cows). One bull or another, we will only be down to one bull for sale after today.
Mike is now a believer that all we have to do to sell bulls is to get busy into hay season. Seems like there is a lot of juggling going on to get inquiries answered, bulls loaded and delivered and hay bales made all at the same time.
Sometime during the night, the cows and calves of the main herd decided to cross the river to lounge and nibble in a small field near the county road.
This field just happens to be across the road from the bull pen where we have five yearling bulls that are simply itching to make friends with some females. We heard the snuffling and snorting well before sunrise and knew exactly what was going on before we got out of bed.
Electric fences keep everyone separated and away from the log trucks, motorcycles, bicycles and commuter traffic that travel between the two groups of critters.
The calves are all bunched into gangs that usually correlate with their ages. The youngest three calves typically hang together so the bigger ones don’t pick on them although the spunky ones break the boundaries to practice head butting and chasing. Continue reading
While the barn is used for hay storage and feeding for the yearling bulls, the empty half of the barn is used for bundling firewood.
Each use creates its own kind of mess and it is only about 10 feet between the two so we make an effort to keep the hay mess and the wood mess cleaned up as much as possible no matter which area we are working in.
It was a very stormy day and everyone was happy to be out of the weather. As we were working in the wood, Butler the dog was inspecting part of the haystack in search of vermin that like to move in this time of year, but he would always peek around the corner to make sure we were still working on the crib of wood that needed to be bundled. Both dog and barn were doing double duty on this winter day.
One of the yearling bulls in the bull pen seemed to tire of the same old routine and wanted to get a new outlook.
I was too far away to get this guy’s number, but he is one of the 9 bulls out in the pen. The stump is the remnant from an old, sick fir that had been taken down more than 10 years ago.
The bull had quite a reach to get first one hoof then another up on the tall stump. For several minutes after getting this far, he struggled to figure out if he could get his back legs up also, then when that proved impossible, working on the exit plan to get his front legs off the stump. All the bulls are back on even footing with each other.
Out of the seven calves that were the final ones to be weaned from this years crop of calves, the four bulls have now been moved into the bull pen with all the other boys that had been weaned. Continue reading
The three bulls that had the green weaner clips installed have now been moved away from the main herd and are spending quality time in the show barn.
I have removed the plastic nose clips and the bulls are enjoying the TLC of close quarters in the barn and lots of food including sliced pears and apples with each meal.
One of the mothers did complain the first day when we moved these guys away, but it was uneventful and short-lived.The bulls did not get upset during the weaning process and did not bellow for their mothers. They do however keep a close eye on me to make sure I give them their allotment of fruit with all the hay and grain they want.
The 3 bulls will remain in this barn pen until Sunday, when we will move them to the actual bull pen. The bull pen has its own barn where they can freely move in to eat, or go outside to hang out under large trees, or nibble grass around the large pasture.