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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
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.
The 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
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.