Usually I try to have my posts completed and scheduled to release in the early morning hours, today it was just not possible.
Last night, when I normally would have been completing my post for this morning, we were busy moving cattle around in order to have things ready for today. We had to first move the two remaining yearling bulls from the bull pen into a barn pen alongside the three heifers in the show barn. Then we had to move the batch of show animals which consisted of the bull Prowler, four cows with their calves and the three yearling heifers out into the bull pen and lock up the gates so the would stay out of our way. Continue reading
Prowler has been growing steadily since we brought him home in October.
He is now a full year old and has been acting ‘more bully’ by more closely following the two pregnant cows and three heifers that he has been spending time with. It seems that all three of the heifers were not bred as we had thought and Prowler has decided it is time for him to grow up.
The one heifer was ‘slow to settle’ when she was with the main herd sire. That is lingo for not getting bred right away but we did not see her come back into heat after we took the sire away an had assumed that all was good.
Prowler has let us know in no uncertain terms that we were mistaken, and has also informed us that he is ready to take on more responsibilities around the farm.
The seven heifers were given a new carpet of chips in their outdoor pen.
A big load of weathered wood chips was laid down across the pen and the heifers took no time at all to sniff, snort, shuffle and scamper around to enjoy the fresh, new coating.
Once they were all tuckered out the heifers spent the afternoon lounging on the chips and chewing their cud.
It was a happy day for the heifers and for those of us who were watching them.
The cold snap broke and we are slowly getting back to a weather pattern that is more typical. Pipes and hoses are no longer frozen solid and we can water the animals with the irrigation again between nights that freeze and days that thaw.
Forecasts have been waffling for a week about the chances of snow on the 25th. We had less than a trace two days ago and it disappeared as the sun came up.
In the fields, the ground is still frozen several inches down below the turf while the moisture in the air hovers in patches across the trees and into the dips of the field.
Butler the dog watches the fog as it dances around. He is hoping to see a coyote or bird move about so he can go running, but for now it is just the fog.
Topanga was acting very restless Sunday evening. She was not actually showing signs of labor, but she was in a foul mood. She had stepped over an electric fence that morning to be back in with the main herd, she had decided that being alone in a big field was not where she wanted to be.
We got her separated once again from the herd during the evening meal. Topanga is one big cow and when she doesn’t want to move, she doesn’t. It took Mike and I both hollering and waving our arms and a little tail twisting to convince her that she needed to be in the secure barnyard to finish out her pregnancy. She still tried to push through the heavy wooden gate at the end of the enclosure.
It was sometime after midnight when she finally did go into labor and delivered a very lively heifer calf.
Zion was born early morning November 27, 2017 and weighs 80 lbs. Topanga had her all cleaned up and nursing by daybreak. Zion looks like she is 90 lbs. or more, but we realized that she has her full winter coat already and that is a lot of fluff extending across her body and down her legs.
And Topanga is back to her old self, no longer restless and doting on her little one with every step.
The row of lettuce growing in the garden was out of control. I had given away as much as I could but it was still producing like gang busters. I had to trim it before it tried to bolt and then I would lose the whole row.
A quick trim to get the lettuce back under control filled the black wheelbarrow. But what is a trim in the garden becomes a snack for the animals in the show barn. They just love fresh greens from the garden and they don’t let any of it go to waste.
Butler has given himself the job of protecting the barn as we get ready to feed the main herd in the mornings.
He sits steadfast at the edge of the barn while we are loading the hay and stares out into the fields.
He alerts us if coyotes, eagles, or elk are bothering the cows in the field by his high pitched yelps. Most of the time he just sits quietly and assumes his guard position.