We have completed our hay season for this year. The equipment has been cleaned and stored away. The hay has all been stacked in the barns, and the cows are now allowed back into all the fields to forage in the large areas.
Since we do not irrigate our grass, we only have one cutting of hay. The rest of the time the land is used for grazing the main herd.
Usually, after cutting the hay off, the grass will regrow. This year with little ground moisture, the hay fields look as if it is late August, dry and brown. We supplement the herd with a bale or two of hay each day as they forage, just to make sure that no one goes hungry.
The herd sire had been away from the main herd and was spending the last 66 days with the show animals. It was so much easier moving the herd around as we were working the hay fields. The bully just slows the process down, not that he is mean, but he just wants to be in charge and doesn’t always agree with our plans.
Since hay season is over, we loaded the herd sire into the stock trailer and moved him across the road and river to the main herd. He is once again king of his domain and watching over his batch of mothers and their babies.
Having a farm that is bisected by both the county road and the river sometimes works to our advantage. But some of the time it doesn’t.
This is the fourth in a series of articles about Samson
Samson taught by example by being first. Into the barn, into the stanchions, eating, walking on a halter, and laying down. He stood still while we brushed his hair, and the other bulls realized that we would not hurt them. His smooth, comfortable moves calmed the other three bull that had no idea what was going on. With Samson’s help it took less than a week to get them ‘broke to lead’, that is the term to be able to walk an animal with a halter on.
First time walking with halter
First time walking to water
First time walking to gate post
After every training session, the bulls were treated to something a little special. Sometimes it would be fresh mowed grass, or chopped up cabbage along with all the sweet grass hay they wanted.
They are not ready to walk around a show ring at the fair, but they are ready to move on.
All the three bulls that Samson helped train are scheduled to show at the Fairs with us in July and August. The bull # 62 (Banjo) has been spoken for already, but will stay here on the farm until early next year. In January he will be moved to the southern Oregon Coast to a large cow/calf operation. After the Fairs, bull # 57 (Bryce) , will be used as our rental sire, servicing the local farms in the area, he stays at each farm about 63 days before moving on to the next batch of females. Bull # 63 (Cooper) is still too young to sell, he was born in June last year. He will be available for sale after the Fair circuit in complete.
Samson did a superb job getting these bulls halter broke before he starts his new life as herd sire. It has been a year of many memories.
Samson and Rupert sharing a snuggle in the warm sunshine
Social Samson greeting other animals as they arrived for dinner
Samson sneaking nibbles while sharing a meal with larger heifer
Always curious, Samson is trying to help take pictures of an elk herd in field
Samson venturing outside now about 2 months old
One of Samson’s favorite treats, banana peels!
About a month old, checking out what grass hay is all about
Samson still loves banana peels.
His favorite treat
Waiting patiently for attention
We now have nineteen calves with both Topanga and Roz looking like they are within a week of calving.
The herd sire has been moved over to the main herd. New babies in the main herd will be born starting late February 2016.
Only half of the babies have ear tags at this point. We like to wait almost a month before we put the ear tags in. Those little ears are just not strong enough to hold the weight of the tag. Even though it wouldn’t hurt the baby, they are just sad looking when they have a droopy ear!
The mild weather that we have been having is agreeing with the newborns. The babies are doing well and growing like crazy. It’s fulfilling to see the herd healthy and happy.