Pasture Exposure

The term pasture exposure is used to explain the difference between having a bull impregnate a cow or having it done by artificial insemination. 99.99% of the time we use pasture exposure because doing it the other way would mean having to catch the one to be bred at the proper time and the need to have said animal close to buildings or catch chutes to hold them while the procedure takes place. Letting the herd sire take care of business is a lot less hassle, but it also comes with a degree of the unknown.

Our current herd sire, Prowler, is a sneaky one. He rarely lets us know what he is up to and believe he uses the dark of night to service the females, which brings us to the current month (so far) of watching #9 for signs of impending motherhood.

We have not observed #9 have her monthly periods all summer long and made a few guesses about when Prowler had managed to get her pregnant. A month ago we noticed her belly getting rounder and her bag filling out. Her tailhead has rounded slightly and her back end is softening. Everyday we think that it could be anytime in the next week or so that she will calve.

This morning we say the same thing, that it looks like she will calve in the next week or so. Until labor begins, we will wait because Prowler is not giving away any of his secrets and neither is #9.

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Getting Comfortable

Last week, we rounded up all the main herd and filtered them through the barn in an effort to ear tag all the younger calves that we had not gotten to yet. We also put green weaner clips in two bull calves that are big enough to be weaned.

With everyone tagged and the two calves sporting their green weaner clips, we let the whole herd back out to graze in the big field and around the lower portion of the hillside. The weaner clips have proved to be a great way to wean calves. The calves can graze right alongside their mothers without being able to nurse. The cows dry up their milk production while giving comfort to their offspring. No bellowing, no pacing, no frantic fence destroying, no issues.

After five days with the weaner clips in place, we moved the herd back to the barn and sorted out the two calves. Mike had loaded up heifer #23 from the show barn and brought her across the river to where we had the main herd. She is now old enough to be bred so we put her into the main herd where the herd sire is residing. After unloading her we loaded the two bulls, #49 and #51 and brought them over to the show barn.

Once inside the show both #49 and #51 found out they have a pen to themselves and that they have free choice of feed 24 hours a day. Both calves are 7 months old at this weaning stage and weigh between 700-800 lbs each. The cows did a great job raising these two.

They are now getting used to being pen mates and really enjoy the sliced apples that I add to their meals.

When the boys are comfortable with their surroundings and the new idea of surviving without their mothers, anywhere from four days to a week, we will transfer them out of the show barn and into the bull pen with the other two nearly-yearling bulls that were weaned earlier. In the bull pen they will have large grazing areas, a loafing barn and tall trees to hang around.

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Bothered

Everybody has those days when they get bothered.

It could be the first time you sat down all day and someone wants a task, chore, lunch or some other little job done that they could just as easily do themselves. Or after a long, busy day and you finally nestle in to bed with your blanket so cozy and pillow so soft when a mosquito plays a game of find the tender skin, as it flits around your arms, neck and face. Or that phone that rings when you are in the other room trying to get paperwork completed. The bothers are too numerous to count and sometimes simply ignoring the problem is easier than dealing with it, but that can hold many other complications.

When I sat down at the computer to write a little story about how things went on the farm today, I noticed that being bothered isn’t just a human affliction. Looking out the office window I look out into the near side of the bull pen. We only have two bulls left out there from the nine we started out with. Bull #39 and the one I refer to as my stalker, bull #41 . The two bulls have lots of space to hang out. They have their choice of lounging beneath tall fir trees, or on the slope at the corner of the fence where they have a good view of the county road and across the river. They could also slop through the swamp for the luscious grasses that grow quickly this time of year. They can loaf about in the barn or meander around the back side of the grazing area. There are many choices. This evening they happened to be both resting just out past the pollinator hedgerow and electric fence. The two bulls were within sight of each other but a good 100 feet apart.

Bull #39 was enjoying the last rays of sunlight for the evening, or was trying to enjoy the peaceful interlude when he kept being bothered by a cow-bird. For some reason the cow-bird just couldn’t let him rest in comfort and kept fluttering around his head and neck. #39 would shoo the bird off but it would just keep coming back. The bull had to finally abandon the short respite and get up and move away from the area to get rid of the bothersome bird.

You gotta see the pictures! They are posted with this story on SchmidlinAngusFarms.com. While you are there, if there is any online shopping you plan on doing, please go through my picture links. By doing so, I may make a small commission without a charge to you! The commissions help pay for my user charges for this site, Thank You for supporting the farm stories.

Now Down To Three

Over the years that Mike has showed and sold cattle, the bull buyers have been pretty darn consistent. We have made acquaintances from the bull sales throughout Oregon, into Idaho, California and up to the Canada border. The buyers may not be heard from for three or four years after a purchase then come calling again for their next herd sire.

Such was the case a couple of days ago, we had a buy who bought three bulls along with a couple of his neighbors a few years back. The farmer and his neighbors used the bulls and rotated them each year around their farms. They did this for several calving years and it was time they got new genetics. They called us and came out to look at the bulls in the bull pen.

The farmers in this one area are getting older and not raising as many cows as they used to. The group of neighbors are no longer buying bulls in bulk the way they did a few years ago, but we did sell #42 to the main farmer of the bunch.

It is very satisfying that we get repeat customers for our herd sires and it is good to hear the great calving stories that they bring with them during their re-purchase. Which now brings us down to only three bulls left in the bull pen for sale from last year’s crop plus our big herd sire that is currently across the river with the main herd.

You gotta see the pictures! They are posted with this story on SchmidlinAngusFarms.com. While you are there, if there is any online shopping you plan on doing, please go through my picture links. By doing so, I get credit for directing people to browse and may make a small commission without a charge to you! The commissions help pay for my user charges for this site, Thank You for supporting the farm stories.

Another Bull Sells

We are finding that local farmers, those that live within a couple of hours of drive time from the farm, are looking to purchase their herd sires without going to auctions or group sales. A lot of what is spearheading the change of plans are those farmers that are doing their best at social distancing.

The Patriarch of the family, happens to be one that is a more Senior member of society, and they did not want to expose him to gatherings as per CDC guidelines. They looked to individual farms to purchase their next herd sire when they came across our bull advertisement in the Capital Press Classifieds.

Bull #37 sold to this family farm that is located in Castle Rock, Washington. As of this writing we are now down to four yearling bulls that are ready to sell for herd sires as well as our older herd sire, Night Prowler.

You gotta see the pictures! They are posted with this story on SchmidlinAngusFarms.com. While you are there, if there is any online shopping you plan on doing, please go through my picture links. By doing so, I get credit for directing people to browse and may make a small commission without a charge to you! The commissions help pay for my user charges for this site, Thank You for supporting the farm stories.

I am delighted to announce that the new book by MaryJane Nordgren, Nandria’s War, is available to the public and can be purchased through my website, SchmidlinAngusFarms.com!  And is now available on Kindle also.

 

Checking Tats

Two more bulls have been sold from the bull pen of potential herd sires. We had been stalling, for quite some time, finishing up with the tattoo process on all the bulls. It is not a hard job, but it seemed like other tasks seemed to pop up and command our full attention and we just never got around to the process. Now that the bulls are selling, we have to get this job done now since tattoos are required for permanent identification.

When I use the word process it is because this task has so many steps to accomplish the job. Before beginning, the show barn has to be prepared by moving the two feeder heifers. (This is where the extra segmenting gates positioned throughout the  feeding area of the barn come in helpful). The heifers are gated for access to the back one-third of their feeding area and are still able to go outside to their barnyard if they wish. A second set of gates are locked giving the barn a twelve foot dead space between the heifers and the bulls once we move the guys into the show barn. With the dead space there is less likely a chance that the bulls will get riled up by being within touching distance of a female. Continue reading

And Then There Were Five

Susan’s note: This site is nearly out of data space, at last check .08%  is left even after deleting and downsizing. I will continue to post as long as I can before I am blocked completely. If you would like to see the whole story including pictures, please visit the new farm blog at SchmidlinAngusFarms.com or simply click this link. The follow button is now working on the new site and you will be prompted to insert your email address and attest that you are indeed a human. If you see the words ‘Cowpies to Treetops’ below the heading of Schmidlin Angus Farms, you know that you are connected.

We wean calves in small batches for a couple of reasons. The first reason being that we only have one set of six green weaner clips, these are the nose clips that are inserted into the nose of a calf so they are not able to nurse from their mother. The second reason for small batch weaning is that we have our births spread out over seven to nine months. We wean calves after six months old and try not to go past nine months old because the cows are already bred and busy forming next years calf. Continue reading

How Did They Do That

Digital photos are very  cool. I take a lot of pictures, you only get to see a very small number of them on the website, there are 100’s of them on my camera at any given time. Many of them speak to me as to what kind of story will be attached to them. Boatloads of other pictures are random things that, quite frankly, I’m not sure what they are a picture of, or why I snapped that shot, much less have a story to go with them. I happened to find the inspiration to this story while flipping through those ‘unattached story’ shots in the file.

two year old bulls in penThe two young bulls that have recently been weaned along with two young heifers, are now by themselves out in large bull pen with their very own barn. Since they have grown up with each other and are near to the same age, they are as close as twins but are only half-brothers. Wherever one goes, the other one is usually nearby.

This picture is actually the second one that I snapped while in the barn. I wanted to take a  backup second picture in case I wiggled too much during the first one so this one was taken a fraction of a second after the first. At the time, I mentioned how fast a critter could stand from a resting position and then when I looked at the shots on the camera realized that I see this same motion every day, but not all my readers have the chance to see the complex beauty of the most natural movements. Continue reading

Heavy Rain Day

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.

bull standing under a big leaf maple treeThe 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.

bull reaching up into big leaf maple tree to eatThe 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.

A Busy Time For Bull Sales

Truck and stock trailer leaving pasture.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.