Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Red Poll Cattle, An Update

All the hay bales are now placed on the east side of the barn to protect the girls from westerly winds. That works well most of the time, but sometimes the winds come out of the north, east or south:

I move the bale feeder more often than is probably necessary, but that enables me to collect hay for use in the barn as bedding. It also leaves a nice, soft bed for the cows to sleep on:

This bale was so frozen that they couldn't eat much of it. As I type this, that frozen bale has been out there for weeks. I just keep giving them more new bales, figuring this one will thaw some day:

Amy is very tame and sweet. She doesn't even move if I walk right up to her:

That's Rosella on the left, nearly half the size of the big cows:

Any new bale gets attacked by the hungry cows. They are eating machines, turning all that fiber into meat, milk, bodies and calves. Oh yeah, and poop - lots and lots of poop:

I only put the bale feeder around the bales which are not too frozen. If I don't use the bale feeder, too much hay gets wasted. If I do use it and the bale is too frozen, the cows can't get enough hay. It's a balancing act, requiring me to check on things many times each day:

When the bales are loose and the bale feeder is around the hay, each bale lasts about four days:

All the cows are looking plump except Scarlett. Alas, she's still allowing her calf to nurse, so I give her lots of extra feed:

Jasmine has the most expressive face and is surely one of the real "Cows With Personality." I can always count on her to mug for the camera:

Here's Scarlett again. See, she's looking pretty good in spite of the harsh winter, being pregnant and nursing her gigantic calf:

Rosella moves about in the herd as if she was a full grown cow, with one exception. I've never seen one of the big girls butt her out of the way or in any manner bully her. She seemed to have been adopted by the whole herd from the moment of her birth, when they all came running across the field to inspect her. She does, however, occasionally engage the older animals in bouts of playful head butting. But even then, I've noticed that it's always her idea and they are unfailingly gentle with her:

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