Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Red Poll Girls, An Update

The cows seem to have forgotten about their calves and have begun focusing on keeping well fed. They all seem contented and healthy:

Gracie was supposedly bred but has been acting like she is still coming into heat periodically. All I can do is watch her and, if necessary, get her artificially inseminated again. Violet, who was bred on the same day as Gracie, is acting the same way. But last year I had them both bred again and then they calved from the first insemination anyway. These things are difficult to judge. The advantage to owning a bull is that he can determine who is and is not in heat. The disadvantages, however, far outweigh that one factor:

The girls seem almost immune to the cold - except that their legs seem stiff when they first get up in the morning:

Gracie came over to see me while I was snapping pictures:

Jasmine has the most expressive face:

Violet and Amy:

I load two four foot bales at a time into the eight foot bale feeder:

And their hay is now on the east side of the barn to protect them from westerly winds:

There is a heater in the stock tank so they always have thawed water which, though not warm, is certainly warmer than the surroundings:

And their time is spent eating, pooping or chewing their cuds:

I often remove the bale feeder early to make it easier for them to get at the unfrozen insides of the bales. They also sleep on the uneaten hay:

Gracie again. She certainly keeps an eye on me:


  1. You stated above that there are many disadvantages to owning a bull. I was a bit surprised when you sold your bull calf. Would you mind sharing what you see as the disadvantages?


    1. Hi Jim. Thanks for leaving a comment. Mostly, bulls are dangerous - and especially so for an old geezer like me who is all alone. Also, you don't want to breed them to their daughters (inbreeding), so you have to keep changing them. Also, you have to take whatever bull is available, whereas with artificial insemination, you can choose one of the finest bulls in the land. The upside of keeping a bull, of course, is that he always knows exactly when a cow is in heat and always gets her pregnant (well, almost always). I couldn't have kept my bull calf for breeding anyway because he would be impregnating his own mother the next year. But for me, the biggest reason to not have a bull is that they can be dangerous. Many are not, but they can be unpredictable and one never knows....................

  2. As I read it I remembered back to my childhood when I used to see the bulls being kept in separate pastures from the cows and heifers. That makes sense to me know. Thank you for the excellent explanation, I hope I get to put this knew knowledge to use when I get to retire in 15 years or so!

    All the best,