The day after Hannah had her baby, Paulette decided to deliver. Pauline weighed in at 72 lbs.
The two calves hang out together in the field. The mothers take turn babysitting while the other one heads off to the back of the field to get a drink of water or to grass on the short grass.
The mother cows are very gentle and are comfortable with both babies dancing around them as the graze, eat hay or nurse their own calf.
We have been watching the main herd that is located across the river. A couple of the cows had started to bag up and look like they were getting close to calving.
Hannah delivered a heifer calf in the early morning hours and had the calf cleaned up and nursing before breakfast. We found the pair by themselves back by the stump patch.
We got the rest of the herd eating hay out of the feeders located by the barn, then took some hay back for the momma and baby. We moved them off the hillside and and into the nursery field (this is the same field that will be the hay field in late June).
Heifer Barbera weighed in at 70 lbs. The move from the hillside to the field was a slow go because Barbera wasn’t in the mood at first.
Barbera following Hannah toward the field
A slow walk along the fence line
Momma had to turn and call Barbera a couple times before she would come around the corner post
That big puddle by the gate kept Barbera from following her momma into the field. Patient Hannah would not go any further until her baby was by her side.
Once both the girls were in the field, Hannah went right to the hay pile because she was overdue for breakfast.
We have locked the cows out of the hay field during the rainy weather to keep the grass from getting chewed up from their big hooves.
The big, round, outdoor feeders are used morning and night.
The rock base that was hauled in before the feeders were set helps hold the animals out of the mud. Mike did a pretty good job of smoothing the area. Even after several days of heavy rain, only one side of one of the feeders started to break down into the mud.
No more rock will be able to be hauled into this area to fix the muddy part. We (the herd and us) will have to just make do with the way the feeders are until we re-do the area next summer.
Our big momma cow, Chardonnay, has been doing double duty lately. A long time family friend had some grass acreage that needed trimming. This acreage had been used for grazing for years with six cow/calf pairs, but the farmer had sold his animals and didn’t want the responsibility of buying more to control his pastures. We trailered three of older mother cows, who were all pregnant, and sent them over to manage the pasture land for this farmer. These mommas are docile creatures and are always hungry. Since moving to this new farm, all three have been busy roaming from field to field, trimming the fast growing grass as they wandered. The cows have a barn to go into if they choose, with hay in the manger and minerals in a free-choice feeder.
The bunch seem very happy and have been growing their babies during this time. It’s almost like a vacation for them, away from the hustle and bustle of the main herd here on our farm. These momma cows each weigh about a ton, and when they are close to calving, look as wide as they are tall. The extra room to roam seems to work well for them as well as helping another farmer.
Chardonnay was close to calving, she had all the signs. Her udder filled with milk and she slowed her walk to a waddle as she grazed. She held off for several days as our friend, and his neighbor and we checked her daily for a new calf, we were all watching for the first signs of labor. Finally, without any assistance, she delivered a stout bull. The neighbor had noticed the little calf in the field and called the farmer who called us.
I was going to name him some wine-related moniker, until I got a look at him. This little guy weighed in at 87 lbs., and was hungry from the moment he hit the ground. I could not saddle him with any name that didn’t fit his strong personality or his brutish physical stature. His name is Tank.
Chardonnay is a good milker as is the nature of Black Angus. Her rich milk will sustain Tank until he is ready to start nibbling on grass and hay in a few weeks. He is already used to the other momma cows in the pastures and he travels as part of the little herd throughout the grazing areas. Chardonnay stays close by and if she needs to get a drink or some hay from the barn she walks Tank right along with her.
This group will continue to stay at this farm until the summer sun burns up the pastures. At that time the cows with their new babies will be returned home where they will be reintroduced to the main herd.
When looking over the main herd one morning and counting the mothers and babies, we came up one short. On closer inspection and checking all the numbers, we found that #76 was missing. Continue reading