Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Red Poll Girls In April

We had a very long and difficult winter here, with even the old timers complaining. My five Red Polls, having spent their whole lives in relatively balmy Virginia, had a lot of adjusting to do. But now that spring is here, they are happy and content, spending lots of time lounging in the sun and chewing their cuds:

And they've begun exploring the rest of their field, places where the snow and ice prevented them from going during the winter. I hope some day to let them out this gate, across the road and into the north field. That, of course, might be difficult, at least until they come to know the routine:

See that black water pipe arching over near the barn? That was installed when the fence was built, and leads beneath the road to the north field. I need to install a few pipe fittings, but eventually I can have a stock tank full of water in the north field when the cows are there:

And the cows continue to get friendlier as time goes on, though they're still wary of everyone but me. That's Gracie on the right. You can see her hernia hanging below her belly. I worried about it but am told it's not likely to hurt her and there isn't anything I can do about it anyway. Also, Gracie's tail is permanently askew, indelicately presenting her lady parts to all the world at all times. She's got quite a unique personality as well:

And Violet is my biggest, prettiest cow with the best confirmation. She's still quite skittish though - except when she's eating grain. When she's got a bowl of sweet feed in front of her, I can do most anything, and I put my hands all over her head, neck and shoulders to get her used to being handled:

They've eaten almost 35 big, round bales of hay this winter. That's about 35,000 pounds of hay and, I figure, at least 35,000 pounds of cow manure:

Though they don't need it, I still feed them grain once or twice a day to keep them tame:

And I also keep trying to teach them to use the squeeze chute. I'm making progress, but we're not there yet:

Their water consumption dropped precipitously and I worried about what might be wrong. Then I discovered that they preferred to drink from puddles. I don't know if it tastes better, it seems more instinctively natural, or it's just easier than plodding back through the mud and manure to the barn in order to drink from the stock tank:

Surprisingly, they've done less romping this spring than in the winter. They seem quite happy to lounge in the grass and sun themselves:

Sadly, I just about ruined their hay bale feeder when I tried to pull it up out of the frozen hay. Then they made it worse by leaning on it. I had to get another bale feeder, which I placed farther out in the pasture so they could get out of the mud:

And their muddy brown coats took on a kind of cherry red summer look as they shed their winter hair. They glisten in the sunshine and look quite striking. Yes, it was a long, hard winter, but things are now looking up:

No comments:

Post a Comment