Monday, February 15, 2016

The Red Poll Girls In Winter

The cows have kept themselves out of the west winds and close to the food source by staying near the bale feeder on the east side of the barn:

Two four foot diameter bales last six animals five days. I often remove the bale feeder on day four to allow them easier access to the unfrozen parts of the hay bales. On day five, I bring in two new bales. The cows waste a lot of hay, spreading it on the ground, but that then becomes a soft bed for them:

The outside of this bale was so frozen that it remained nearly intact even after I removed the bale feeder. The girls did eventually eat it all, though. They are not ones to let anything edible go uneaten:

They all like to hang out around the base of the Box Elder tree. It gives shade in the summer and a handy place to scratch an itch in the winter. This is Gracie, surveying the action over by the bale feeder:

And this is Rosella, the baby of the herd. She's always been the tamest, but recently began pulling away when I got too close to her. I pushed forward though, rubbing her sides and patting her back. She decided that I wasn't so bad after all:

Gracie, chewing her cud. Her collar looks tight here but their necks are so tapered that it all depends on where the collar comes to rest. It generally always looks either too tight or too loose. As long as they're not choking and it's not falling off, I figure all is well:

I sometimes wonder, when they lounge around like this, what the bovine conversation is about. Are they gossiping about me?:

Two brand new bales. This time, I managed to load them into the bale feeder without tipping it:

Afternoon, and the sun in the western sky is casting the barn's shadow across the cows and their bale feeder:

It seems a shame that with 16 acres of field for them to roam, they spend the entire winter in this tiny portion of land. But it's their decision and this is where the wind is blocked and the hay is provided:

Early evening, with the moon just rising:

The cow on the left is Jasmine, she of the expressive face:

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