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.
We try to hold off until a cow is very near birthing or just after delivering before we move her into the nursery field so the turf is less likely to get torn up from all the foot prints.
With forecasts of rain (with some of it very heavy) expected for the next week, we have pre-sorted #68 Sapphire from the main herd and out into the nursery field. She lost her mucus plug and that is a good sign that there is only a few days before calving and we wanted her to stay out of the muddy areas that dirty up udders and the calves that they birth. And for those keeping count, Sapphire is the mother to the bull #16 Blue who was sold and just moved to his own herd a few days ago.
We are still waiting on Paulette who is either having a very large calf or twins (we thought she was close to calving for the last month). She is wider than a caboose and practically waddles as she walks. She sure isn’t missing any meals.
The last few years have been good to the coyote population around here and they have taken advantage of the situation. The world name for a bunch of them is called a band, they live in clumps of animals and hunt in multiples. They are also getting braver around livestock and humans, and have taken a liking the taste of leftovers, pet food and pets. Although these scavengers are good to keep the forest lands cleaned up, the coyotes are dangerous around the beef cows especially around calving. The mothers attract the coyotes with birthing smells and the newborns are susceptible to attack. Continue reading
After happily posting about our newest calf Mud Dauber and calling his mother Mona I went about filling in his birth information into our master book and realized that Mona wasn’t listed.
What the heck happened to Mona? I was sure Mike had said her name was Mona because that was what my little sticky note with all my important reminder stuff indicated and I wrote that before he left for his get-away. “Keep an eye on Paulette and Mona” was what he said, “Mona is the one with a white patch on her udder.” Continue reading