Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Snowy Red Poll Ladies

It's January in the north country and a cold, cold time for livestock:

 I do let the cows in on the coldest or wettest nights, but on most nights, they are fine outdoors. Besides, I dread the arduous cleanup the day after they've spent a night in the barn. The amount of manure and urine soaked bedding hay they leave after one night is hard to believe:

 But on the worst nights, they do appreciate the comfort of the barn and behave themselves pretty well - at least so far:

 But most of their time is spent on the east side of the barn, munching on hay:

 I still give them grain every morning, but all except the two lactating mothers are on diets, and given only a scant two cups of grain:

 They have learned to push the bale feeder sideways, opening up more available hay for eating and sleeping:

 Violet is the most obese of the cows and I am estimating her weight loss by watching her brisket, the hanging flesh at her chest. It is definitely reducing although she needs to lose enough fat to allow her to come into heat. A breeding cow too fat to produce calves is of no use on a farm. Besides, it appears as if the truly obese cows are developing arthritis. So I'm not being cold hearted by trying to get them to lose weight:

 On mild days, life is pleasant for these girls:

 On cold, icy days, it's not so pleasant. But spring is coming and the grass will be growing again by April:

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