Peach, who was born on January 3 and Respect, who was born on March 25 are getting along wonderfully well. Peach has been showing Respect how to sleep outside in the pasture, chase birds and as shown in this picture, eat hay from the manger.
Peach grabs large clumps of hay while Respect is still nibbling on stem at a time, but soon both will come into the barn at feeding time as quickly as their mothers do.
Respect tries to show his dominance as a bull when around Peach. He will scuffle and bump heads. Peach takes it good-naturedly and just pushes him aside when she tires of his game.
The twins, Front and Back are happy to have outdoor privileges even though the ground is still a soggy mess. This barn yard gives them a space to run and cavort around and they are taking advantage of the space.
The mother, #7 is content to watch at the twins race from one end of the barn yard to the other at a dead run.
There is still the issue of the mother liking Front better than Back. She is not mean, but tends to push Back away from nursing.
In order for the twins to conform to eating meals at the same time, we have been forced to pen the boys in and away from #7 for a couple of hours at a time, then letting them go to her together to nurse.
#7 is not crazy about the idea and would prefer to have Front with her at all times, but she is willing to try this technique as long as we do not let her get uncomfortable with an udder full of milk before reuniting the family. We still keep the three together all night long, but the daytime will continue to have separation times for momma and babies. If this does not work, Back may need to become a ‘bucket baby’ being fed with formula instead of nursing.
Trying to snap a picture of the newborn twins is not an easy task. Their momma, #7 is a photo-hog and tries to bomb her way into most shots. Being nearly a ton in weight, she is able to make quite a statement with just a couple of steps.
Once I moved #7 to a separate pen, I was able to get a quick pick to share.
This is the back of Back and the front of Front. Or it is the front of Back and the back of Front.
Either way, the twins are doing well and jump up to nurse when they see me coming into the pen with them, and they go nurse on their own when their tummies dictate it is time to eat. They don’t cuddle up to each other, but they do like to lay within a couple of feet of each other when they are resting. Usually when momma #7 lays down she is in the middle of her two boys.
Mother and twins are doing well. We will keep them in the barn for a couple of more days as we expand the pen to new territory giving them more freedom with each opened gate. By tomorrow they will have access to space both inside and outside the barn structure. This gives the twins time to bond before putting them out into the nursery field with the other cow/calf pairs. This bond will be vital to all three in order thrive in the rough and tumble nursery pasture.
The Gator ride out to the outside feeders twice a day is usually the same old commute. This morning we got stuck behind a road full of slow movers.
The cows did not want to move off the mud covered rock road because the amount of moisture this winter has caused everything to turn bog-like. Stepping off the road could leave a critter stuck up to her belly in goo.
We had no choice but to follow along with the slow moving traffic of this day. Then we had to wait for the ‘ladies’ to decide which feeder they would let us close enough to drop the morning breakfast slabs of sweet hay.
No one was going to be moving fast during this very sluggish, morning commute.
Most of the snow is gone from the fields and where ever it had fallen naturally. The driveway, roads and any paths that were compacted still are icy.
Driving the Gator on the ice is fairly easy, but stepping off can be a whole new scenario.
This is Mike and the dogs loaded with the morning hay coming down the driveway and headed for the cows across the river.
The river is still pretty high while the last of the snow and ice is melting. The cows will not try to cross back over, they are usually pretty smart about staying on the side that feeds them.
It may have been a change in the barometric pressure, the phase of the moon with its gravitational pull, a stalking pack of coyotes, or simply the lead cow deciding she needed a change of scenery. The herd decided, in the middle of the night, during the driving, warm rain of the Pineapple Express that was melting the snow-pack and sending tons of water into the Nehalem, to cross the River.
We found them in the morning, stranded on the wrong side of the river.
The idyllic picture that I had posted last week doesn’t look anything like this view from the bridge of the muddy and swollen Nehalem River.
The herd is stranded in the upper field at the far and right side of this picture. Where the river was cross-able for a cow 12 hours earlier is now swift and flowing about 6-7 feet deep in the middle. The rain kept coming and the river expanded from when I took this pic.
Instead of the herd getting fed in the outside feeders, we had to resort to feeding them on the cold and very wet snow. We had to pick and choose where we fed because pools of water dotted the field where they were stranded.
This pasture is not very big compared to the large grazing area across the river and in two days they had mudded and pooped up much of the area, yet the river still had not receded enough for the herd to swim back across. We continued to feed on the ground each morning and evening.
The John Deere Gator is the most used piece of equipment on the farm. It is transport from one side of the river to the other during twice daily feedings, we haul hay, fencing, dogs, cats, calves and people to every corner of the place. It goes up hill and down, around the river, through the woods and up the road.
During this cold snap we have moved out the car and moved the Gator into the garage. Sitting inside the shop does not offer enough protection from the elements and the moisture that dropped off the undercarriage kept causing the Gator to freeze itself to the ground.
It’s ok that my garage smells like a barn for a while, as long as our valuable transport can stay running.