The time has come for the older calves to get their numbered eartags. We try to wait at least a month or two before clipping the tags into their ears because newborns have such tender skin and cartilage. The weight of a tag can actually malform the growing appendage causing a droopy ear for the rest of their lives. It would not hurt the calf by having a droopy ear, it just looks sad.
We tagged the 6 older calves that are out in the nursery field across the river with the next step being watch to see which calf nurses from which mother to determine the pairs. I keep my phone handy for note-taking when feeding so I can match the numbers and still be able to have that information correct when I get back to the house.
We had a couple of visitors to the farm the other day. One youngster was intrigued by the neighbors critters more than our animals. When his mother asked him what he was looking at, he pointed at across the fence with enthusiasm.
“That cow has his turn signals all goofed up!”
The mother agreed that it was hard to tell if the steer was going to turn left, right or possibly spin in a circle.
I had not thought about horns quite that way before.
Sitka and her calf Willow along with Quiet and SBD sneak out of the barn for a frolic in the fresh snow.
SBD is only about 24 hours old and has had his fair share of mud, grass, rain and now snow. He is much stronger today than he was yesterday and tries to run after Willow but has trouble keeping up.
Both cows are careful to keep their own babies close to them for now but within another day or two the calves will bond and become close friends.
Jackson the dog gets frantic this time of year when the new calves are born. He just has to get in close and check for baby poop.
He has been known to go up to a calf while sleeping to lick the tail area clean, or to wake up a calf to check if there is any poop under it. The mothers do not care for him to be so close to their babies so he has learned to be real sneaky and brazen at times.
He crawls right into the pen, nose to the ground and covers every inch. The calves don’t care for the intrusion and it becomes a hokey-pokey kind of dance shuffling this way and that. The calves want to investigate who is coming into the pen but don’t want to get to close to the Unidentified Sniffing Object.
While the dog/calf commotion is going on a cow or two pulls away from eating hay in the manger and come at the dog head first. Jackson is very quick and scoots through the gate and out of the path of being crushed by the cow. But once the cows goes back to eating, Jackson goes back to poop snooping.
I was outside filling all the stock tanks with water in anticipation of a cold snap approaching when I round the corner of the barn and saw the back part of a heifer hanging outside the barn.
Yearling heifer, #50 Pente, had figured out how to stand on her tiptoes and lift her tail over the bars of the gate so she could scratch a particular nagging itch. She had her back-end wagging this way and that so her tail was doing it’s own little jig beyond the bars.
As I got closer, I saw her front-end doing what looked like a whole scene from the musical, South Pacific. If I would have had music playing it would have synced well with the popular ditty, “I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair…” all that was missing was bubbles.
We had a surprise visitor to the farm the other day. We had already finished the evening chores and had moved inside to begin dinner preparations when a red car drove into the driveway and a 20something man emerged after parking.
At the door, he asked about renting a bull. Mike asked the question about where his critters were located and the man said it was only one cow that he needed bred. When Mike asked how far he lived from the farm, he stated that he was located just above Timber. The young man said that he knew we had lots of critters because when he was little and the family drove our county road to attend church every Sunday, he would see our cows out on the road every week. Continue reading
Out in the barn, or in the fields, when putting hay in the outdoor mangers, or feeding along the ground, as the twine is removed from a hay bale it is tied in a knot. From a single bale to multiples of 6 or more, the twine is ALWAYS tied into a knot before placed in a bag or other receptacle.
I had cut open a bale of hay, tied the twine in a knot an dropped it over by the cats while I finished feeding the bale. It’s one of those things we do, mostly without even thinking about it. As simple as breathing until a visitor to the farm asks why, then a story emerges.
The visitor asked if I tied the knot so the cats would play with the string so I shared the following.
The cats only get to play with the string for a little while until I am done feeding and the reason is not for the cats at all. Once the hay is fed the string goes into the recycle bag, sealed away for safety.
Critters such as cows, especially the young ones up to a year old or more simply love to chew on things. They tongue the latches on gates, they lick and bite at fence posts and bars on the stanchions, they investigate their world by licking, nibbling and sometimes eating. A loose string becomes a game of twisting their tongue around until they can suck it in an chew on it. A single piece of twine off of a bale of hay is several feet long and a calf or young cow who happens to be chewing on one end will keep chewing it in like a super-long strand of spaghetti.
If the twine is then swallowed, it can unwind in the stomach where it could tangle in the digestive tract and strangle the critter from the inside.