We have had some extra time on our hands lately. We may not be staying home because we want to, but it has actually been a blessing in disguise.
As you know, we tend to run ourselves ragged with jobs, school, showing and life in general. This kind of schedule isn't very conducive to the farm life. Many times, our busy life means the maintenance of our farm and herd gets put on the back burner. The thing that screams the loudest is what gets done, and the cows don't do a whole lot of screaming.
This hectic schedule is O.K. for a while, but at some point we have to stop and take care of the daily maintenance items before everything is broken and sick.
I'll have to admit, more times than we like, we are reacting to the emergency instead of working to get ahead of the problems.
A showman walks into the show ring with his cow all clean, fitted and looking fine.
The showman isn't looking too shabby himself with his crisp, clean shirt, fancy show jeans, cowboy hat and boots to match.
But getting to the show ring looking like a million bucks is easier said than done.
You see...there is a whole lot of poop going on back in those barns...
And it is no easy feat keeping the poop where it is supposed to be and not all over the kid.
Once calving season is done, our sights quickly move on to the next step...
Re-breeding the cows.
We have struggled for several years to get everyone back on a Spring calving rotation. We prefer to have our calves born in March and April, but are O.K. if calving gets pushed into May. Sometimes we have June and July babies, which isn't ideal, but we won't complain.
Some people prefer fall calves. We do not prefer fall calves, but Rain was a fall calf and that worked out pretty well for us.
While many farms are well into calving season this year, we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our fist calves. We have three cows ready to calve at any time.
Calving season can quickly turn ordinary life into chaos. You will find yourself out in the barn more than you are in your house...or your bed.
Smart and organized people (I am not at all implying that we fall into this category) will have everything they need on hand and ready to go.
So how can you prepare for the impending chaos of calving?
This past weekend we were at another cattle show.
In true fashion, the weather turned brutally cold just in time for the show.
It was a little bit warmer on Saturday and it was 1 degree when we left home for the show. By the time we arrived in Columbus, it was a balmy 6 degrees.
On show weekends like this, we know three things.
One...we are going to a show...no matter what.
Two...we are going to be outside for 12 plus hours.
Three...it is going to be cold.
So....learn to deal with it.
But how do we deal with it?
The first thing we do is...
Every time I open the mailbox there is a new cattle sale flyer inside. It is that time of year that there is either a cattle auction or online sale just about every day.
Spring calves are being weaned and are ready to leave the farm. Buying and selling is at its peak.
If you have ever bought a cow from a long distance, one of the most difficult things is figuring out the logistics of getting that new cow to your farm.
If you are close enough or are able to, picking up the cattle yourself is always the best option. However, when you are purchasing across the country, it is not always feasible to have the time or resources to haul the cattle yourself. It is also very expensive to pay for fuel to travel that far to pick up one or two cows.
Professional cattle haulers are very good at coordinating cross country trips to maximize the number of cattle in transit while minimizing the cost for each individual.
In the past several years we have bought cattle from Colorado and Washington. We have used haulers every time. It is just not in the cards to have Daniel drive over 24 hours to pick up a cow, only to turn right back around and drive another 24 hours home.
We have had some good experiences and some not so good experiences. Over the years, we have learned (mostly the hard way) some ways to make the experience better for you, the seller, and most importantly, the cow.
What is the tattoo test?
It is very simple.
Do your cows have a tattoo in their ear?
Why do your cows need a tattoo in their ear? The simple answer is because it is required in order for them to be registered.
Change can be very stressful. We all know the common signs and symptoms of stress in people...agitated, loss of appetite (or if you are like me, the need for another bowl of ice cream), weight loss, lack of sleep, etc., but can you recognize the signs of stress in your cattle? Just like humans, each cow reacts differently to change and stressful situations. Part of our job as cattle farmers is to minimize the stress on our animals and to keep our cows as happy and comfortable as possible.
We are busy packing and making last minute preparations for our trip to the North American International Livestock Exhibition (NAILE) next week. We have devised a strategy to make the stressful trip and new situation as easy on the cows as possible. Here area a few tips to help keep your cows calm, eating, drinking and happy as can be.
Animals are very hardy and God created them to grow thick winter coats to protect them from the elements. So why do we need to worry about winterizing our stock trailer to protect them from the elements?
Looking at the calendar, there are not many available weekends before we head to the Ohio Beef Expo. We have 2 babies that need to be halter broken and a bull that needs to be reminded of his manners.
We haven't had a lot of snow this winter, but we are sure dealing with some nasty ice. We will get a few inches of snow and then the weather warms up. This is causing the top layer to melt and then re-freeze every couple of days. We now have a very solid ice rink just about anywhere you step. We are getting some fresh snow today, so it is providing a little bit of traction. We are running out of time, so halter breaking will begin even if the weather isn't ideal.
Everyone has their "proven" method for halter breaking, but this is a way that works well for us. The first step is to put the halters on the calves and let them drag them around for a few days. This gets them used to the feel of the halter and when the lead is stepped on, it trains them to give to the pressure. We then follow up with tying them in the barn for about 30 minutes or so. They fight like the dickens, but eventually learn to give to the halter. We will repeat this process for several days.
Hello! I am Heather... the city girl turned mom to manure loving country boys. My husband and I both grew up in the city, but spent weekends visiting grandparents in the country. We are first generation farmers who learn best by almost always doing things the hard way. I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures down on the farm.