Sunday, November 20, 2016

Red Poll Cattle And Hay In November

I began feeding hay in mid-October, and the girls are eating a 4' by 4' bale every two days. It's a good thing I bought so many bales, 88 of them plus 180 small bales inside the barn:

Rosella and Scarlett, the only two lactating moms, are especially hungry and constantly at the bale feeder:

The area around the bale feeder gets covered with wasted hay and manure, becoming a place for the cattle to lie down on a relatively soft and dry surface:

And I move the bale feeder every time I give them a new bale, leaving a circle of wasted hay. This becomes a big, round bed for sleeping and lounging:

This picture illustrates the old location of the bale feeder and the new location. I move it slowly across the field, changing positions every two days. I learned the hard way my first winter that if I don't keep moving it, it gets buried in hay and impossible to pull out. I ruined my first bale feeder that way - and they aren't cheap, even used:

A family portrait:

Autumn is a pleasant time here in the North Country:

A dead cow? No, just a fat and lazy cow who knows how to take it easy. I've developed a problem that some of my cows are becoming obese. This is Violet, probably the fattest of the herd. She does not seem to be coming into heat and I suspect her obesity is the reason. I cut back their grain drastically, but they weren't getting much to begin with. It appears that the great feed conversion efficiency of the breed can be a problem as well as a blessing:

Life is good - but winter is coming soon:

I've had to put the water heater into the stock tank already, though I only need to plug it in on the coldest nights:

Tabitha and Maggie, the two calves, are growing rapidly and looking good. They won't be ready for sale until early spring, but I haven't yet had any inquiries. I'll add them to the farm website soon:

This is Violet. She carries her excess weight well, though her huge, dangling brisket gives it away. I'll watch that as an indicator of how she is doing losing weight:

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