Friday, May 23, 2014

Springtime Red Polls

Gracie is the only cow I've managed to lure into the aisle which leads to the squeeze chute. You can see the bowl of grain in front of her. Well, at least I got her this far:

I added more bowls of grain over time to tempt her in farther. She got almost to the end and then backed all the way out, ripping down some boards on her way. She refused to go in again after that, so this photo is a sad reminder of what she once almost did:

The grass began greening in early May and the cows were very happy about it:

I went out at dusk one night to put the chickens to bed and noticed that the setting sun was turning the woods pink behind the cows. Happily, I had a camera with me:

They have a favorite lounging spot near the old raspberry patch and have attracted their own small flock of cowbirds. The chickens, however, have discovered the advantages of following the cows and seem to have driven away the cowbirds:

I was in the car on the dirt road one day when I noticed one of my girls up atop the ridge grazing:

The bellies of three of them have been swelling, but so far there has been no full udders and no calves:

Everything here was so muddy that their hooves were always wet. I worried that they'd have hoof problems, but a local dairy farmer told me they'd likely break off the excess hoof once the ground dries out:

My five cows ate 34 big, round bales of hay in 170 days this winter. Keeping track of this will help me plan for next winter:

I ruined their old hay bale feeder by trying to pull it up out of the frozen ground. So I had to buy a new one. I've learned my lesson now, and will be much more careful:

I continued to turn over their hay right to the very end in order to be sure they had good hay to eat. But they were pretty much on green grass by early May:

They're a peaceful bunch when they lie down to chew their cuds - not so much when they're feeling frisky and want to play and cause trouble:

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