Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Red Poll Ladies

All the cows had been successfully artificially inseminated (I hoped) except for Scarlett. She calved on August 1 and hadn't come into heat since then. But one morning it was abundantly clear that Scarlett was in heat. I called the A.I. man and we locked her in the squeeze chute. That's his head behind her and she looks blurry because her head was moving. It's not uncomfortable for a cow, but they don't like being locked in place. Anyway, it appears to have resulted in a pregnancy:

Out in the yard, the cows have trace minerals, salt block and fresh, clean water:

And speaking of water, my first stock tank appeared to be leaking and I couldn't find the leak to patch it, so I put it out on the road with a "Free" sign on it. I bought a more expensive brand to replace it, but it leaked also. I returned it to the store and brought home another, but it leaked. I finally bought a bigger, 150 gallon tank, thinking that maybe the cattle were just drinking that much. Finally, I discovered that the water was siphoning back up the hose and back down the water hydrant. I installed a check valve and the problem was solved. As it turned out, they weren't drinking much water at all:

I took this photo to illustrate the classic, Red Poll white tail tassel. It's not really white, but it is clearly blond - and quite noticeable once you know to look for it. Red Angus and other breeds usually don't sport that lovely, blond tail tassel:

The cold weather has increased the ladies' appetites, and I've had to chain the pipes of their stalls to the wooden supports to resist their massive eagerness to get at the food:

I walked out into the south field one fine afternoon to take photos of my six individuals. The first cow was Gracie:

And then Amy:

Scarlett and her calf, Rosella:

And Jasmine. But when I tried to photograph Violet, my brand new camera broke and I had to quit for the day. I sent the camera in for repair and began using an old camera, but that whole process took several days:

I usually feed the cows before letting the chickens out for the day - and this is why. But if I give them a second feeding in the afternoon, we all have to contend with pushy, nervy, ravenous chickens:

One evening I saw Rosella nursing, just inside the fence:

When I walked closer, she pulled her head away and showed that she'd smeared milk all over her face. There she stood, looking annoyed with me, with her muzzle covered with milk and her tongue protruding from the corner of her mouth. it was a comical sight:

And one more chuckle at Rosella's expense. She was trying to get her aunt Jasmine to play one afternoon, but Jasmine just wanted to take a nap. The persistent calf kept butting heads, once hard enough that you can hear them collide on the video. Jasmine was quite patient with it all, though. I think she'll be a good mother next spring:

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