All In A Row

It was a fairly typical day. Not raining, not sunny. Not windy, not cold, and not hot. As I was about to open the gate to go across the road, I noticed the calves all lined up under a fir tree along the fence. At first I thought there were four calves all in a row with one cow supervising and watching over them.

It wasn’t until I stepped through the gate and closed it behind me when I realized that there were five calves resting comfortably along with the cow supervisor.

Makes me wonder why in the world they decided that they would hang out like that to rest while a whole field of grass and clover was just waiting to be rolled in.

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Ear Tag Day

The calves have been growing like crazy in the main herd and it was time to get some of the rambunctious youngsters ear tagged so we can start the process of learning who belongs to who.

We tagged eight calves with the oldest being over three months old now. He was actually the easiest of the bunch because his head was big enough to hold fast in the locked head gates (stanchions) right next to one of the big cows. The rest of the calves had to be sorted and moved into the far pen one at a time and herded into a squeeze corner for Mike to get the tags snapped into the left ear. The procedure took only moments for each calf but the moving the critters around took much longer. It was a long morning but we got them done, the younger calves will be tagged in a month or more.

After the calves got their new jewelry. We walked the whole herd across the rabbit run in the field so they would have lots of fresh grass to graze in around the sixteen acre field.

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.

 

Temporarily Missing

I was out scouting along for a missing calf. The word missing is not exactly correct, the mother had found a good hiding spot for her new little one to rest while she went about with the main herd grazing in the field.

The area she had chosen to hide her baby was in the back of the 6 acre field beyond the brush of the power lines and into a wild area with thick tangles of vine maple, tall hemlock and fir trees, broken down, rotting alder trees and lots of vines of wickedly barbed blackberry. The cow knew that her baby was back there somewhere but didn’t seem to remember exactly where.

Mike and I tried to find the baby after we had fed the main herd out in the field. We walked through the tangles and over the fallen trees yet could not find the calf. We retrieved the mother from the herd and walked her down to the area where we thought the calf may be sleeping and the mother walked us around and around in circles without disturbing a calf.

It took a good twenty minutes of searching before the mother finally decided to bellow. The bellow woke the calf enough for the little one to give a small moo in reply and the mother went right to the spot where the calf was dozing. Mike, I and the mother had walked right by this spot several times but it was so well hidden in a little thicket that we missed it. (We were beginning to think she really didn’t want us to find her baby so she did not make a sound as we trailed behind her for such a long time).

All the farm stories with pictures can be found at 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.

 

Confused Mama

Last week, we were baffled for a short time when we had come upon the sight of possibly two cows taking responsibility for a new calf before finding that there were two new calves to match up with the two mama cows.

A few days later, we had a new mama cow confused when we realized she had one calf along the upper fence of the large field then moved further out into the field to deliver a second baby. After the second calf was born was when we drove the Gator out to feed hay and she was so hungry, she began following the trail of hay slabs that we were throwing out to the herd instead of rounding up her new offspring. We believe it was confusing to her to still be having labor pains to expel the placenta and her intense hunger that led to her inattention to the offspring. With coyotes hanging around the area, it was imperative to make sure both babies were safe and being taken care of.

While the herd was eating hay, we drove over to the heifer calf by the fence, she was being picked on by one of the month-old calves and he kept knocking her down rather than letting her get stable enough to walk around. I was able to scoop her up easily and set her in the back of the Gator while Mike drove us to the barn. We deposited the little heifer in one of the pens while we went to check on the other calf. Continue reading

Something In The Air

With the promise of new beginnings, the ground is attempting to dry, the daffodils are starting to poke up out of the dirt, buds are starting to swell and the cows are acting antsy.

The other day, I told you about half of the herd separating from the main group to go off tramping through the woods, now it is the mother cows in the nursery field that have gotten that nagging itch to search for new adventures. When I walked across the bridge to do some early morning firewood production, I noticed only one cow in the nursery field. It was highly unusual. The mothers are very protective of their little ones and the calves hang out together so the big cows can babysit while some of the others wander to the far back of the field for a drink from the spring. One cow by herself just doesn’t happen, except for today.

It took a little exploration, but I found that someone (and nobody is confessing to being the culprit) had been rubbing on a wooden post that holds the fence up between the nursery field and the six acre field. There was evidence of this from the black hair left behind along with the smooth spot on the post that was now flat on the ground, broken off at dirt level. There were the three strands of barb wire stomped into the mud where the rest of the nursery animals had walked through the surprise opening.

Around the corner and down in the dip the herd of mother cows with all the calves were happily munching away. It would be my guess that the lone cow still in the nursery field had been in the back by the spring when the rest of the herd took off for greener pastures and she would be reuniting with the rest of them shortly when she grazed her way toward the six acre field.

Looks like today will be fence fixing day. It wasn’t on the original plan of activities, but there is something in the air that makes me think that if I don’t take care of this issue right away there may be more problems ahead.

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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!

Playing In The Rain

We all need a little down time, that moment or two throughout the day to kick up a heel or do a little jig. Those carefree moments can seem to transport us from a day of slogging through the rain, to light and carefree exuberance. Babies of all species learn from those times of wild gyrations or wiggly movements, new muscles are being worked while balance and new abilities are forged.

The younger calves in the nursery field are testing their strength with each other by touching heads and trying to push each other out of the way. They try messing with the bigger calf and even the mom’s in the field, with the larger animals ignoring the little ones attempts to bother them. The calves love to run toward the Gator when we are driving out in the field and fly their tales high in the air as they come flying across the pasture.

The newest baby in the nursery field is KAOS,  now just a week old now and can be seen chomping on a single spear of hay during meal time. It is still more important to grab a few slugs of milk from his mother #99 than eating solid food, but he is getting the idea that when there is food being placed in the field it is time to eat.

At mealtime when we throw out slabs of hay, the babies spend time nosing around and sometimes fighting the hay in an attempt to outwit the pile that fluffs into loose hay as the calf flips it around. Once it is broken into a loose pile rather than a stiff slab, the calf changes tactics and flops down in the hay to enjoy the soft downy pile.

It was a gray, rainy day that I happened to get a few pictures of Hopper who was having  a grand time scooting around a slab of hay and trying to work it into submission. He was not troubled by the muddy ground, the rain coming down or any other creatures out in the field. He was busy taking time to play in the rain.

You will have to go to SchmidlinAngusFarms to see the pictures since this site is nearly out of data space. Thank you for following my stories and all the farm adventures.

Last Trip Around the Far, Far Field

The next batch of calves to be weaned now have their green weaner clips installed and are comfortably roaming the fields with their mothers while the milk supply dries up. After installing the clips, we moved the herd into the far, far field where they can meander the large pasture, under the fir trees that have grown up along the old railroad grade and the forest around the pasture. The weaning calves will stay in the same field as their mothers for about five days before we haul the calves to the show barn where they will learn to be completely independent from their mothers. Continue reading