Sunday, May 29, 2016

Cattle in yard, day 2

Beulah and Rose were laying near the gate this morning waiting for me to open it to let them back into the yard.

First I had to fix the fence that Buddy broke yesterday.

Since I plan on rebuilding this section of fence after Buddy is released from the corral later this month, I mostly patched the fence.   Hence the board on top of the one section.   I should have put another board on the section to the left as early this evening I found Buddy had broken that log.  I had to put a board across that section as a patch.

Here is a 1 minute 31 second video of the cattle when I let them into the yard this morning:

As you can see in the video Buddy has gotten rid of most of his Winter fur.  This evening while filling the cattle's water trough I used a rake to scratch him where he still has some Winter fur.  He loved it and forgot about the cows while I scratched him.

Late afternoon, now that the yard has been gone over once, some cattle are getting picky and are looking for other stuff to eat instead of the remaining grass.  Here Beulah is eating the lower leaves on a box elder tree.

I have enough grass for one more day tomorrow.  However I will have to watch them like a hawk as some of the cattle will try to eat items they shouldn't or try to eat over the fence.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Annual cattle in front yard

It is getting close to letting the cattle out to pasture.  First a few things to do.

At 1 pm Donna came over to help me with the cattle.  I let them into the loading corral part of the corral.  I had kept them out of there so far this year so they gladly went in there to eat green grass and weeds.

Donna handled the gate and in ones, two, or threes we got the cows into the loading ramp part of the corral.  Once in the ramp I was able to spray their back with a pour on solution of Privermectin, which contains ivermectin.  This is a parasiticide that kills roundworms, lungworms, grubs, lice, mites and horn flies.

I also put cow #7's ear tag back on.  Last Summer she snagged it on some dead tree branches and pulled the tag out of her ear.  I had to put the tag in her other ear.  I also put a second tag on one of the two black cows whose tag number faded/washed off last year.  Maybe the number will stick this year.  If not I can tell the two cows apart because now one has an ear tag in each ear.

Once the cows were done I let them into the front yard.  The past few days between rain showers I "wrapped" the front yard to protect the shrubs, bushes and flowers. I also wrapped the pump house to protect my new shingles and other areas the cows can't eat but in the past have caused mischief when bored.  Because all my corral panels are being used in part of the north pasture I had to protect stuff with field fence and other wire fencing.  My heart isn't into this as much this year.  I have so much permanent work to do that this temporary works seems to be pointless, even if for a good cause.

We then let the steer/bull calves out to join their mothers.  Because it is too late (or would be a lot of work) to number the ear tags to match the calves to their mothers, this year I decided to ear tag just the heifer calves.  I bought orange calf ear tags for this purpose.  I did the heifer calves because there were less of them and also so I can quickly tell the heifers from the steers this Summer.

Donna has a better eye than I do when it comes to telling the steers from the heifers.  One steer had already lost his balls so I had to double and triple check before I was satisfied it was a steer and not a heifer and we should let it out of the loading corral.

Because the main head gate is too big for the calves I used the calf table.  The table has a head gate at one end where I could hold the calf's head still so I could tag its ear.

Hmmmm... I bought orange tags because they would stand out on a black heifer.  But some of my heifers are red and the tag blends in.

Then everyone was out in the front yard.

Buddy was concerned when Donna and I were working the cattle as some the cattle made noise.  Once the cows and calves were in the yard he was worked up and was at the east corral fence watching and moaning.    The east corral fence is not as tall as the other corral fences and he is able to get his head on the top board to look out. Especially this year and Buddy seems even bigger and taller than last year.

I ended up bracing one post (as it is not a railroad tie) to prevent Buddy from pushing it too far over.  Eventually Buddy settled down and laid in the corral and watched.

Once the cattle ate their fill they laid down and chewed their cud while their calves slept.  Everyone was happy.

In the evening I went over and visited Curtis.  He and another neighbor were using Curtis's newly bought used portable sawmill.  They were making boards from some very large diameter logs Curtis had bought.  I stayed for some Papa Murphy's pizza they had gotten and baked.

When I got back home I herded the cattle back into the corral for the night.  I am taking no chances for the cows and calves to get up to mischief overnight.  They weren't too keen on going back into the corral; especially the calves.

Once the cattle were back into the corral I noticed Buddy had broken a couple logs in the east corral fence.  He had not gotten out of the corral though he could have with a little more effort.  Even though all the cattle were in the main corral (I counted) Buddy thought a few more were still in the yard and he put his head up on the last good log section of the east corral fence and looked out into the yard and moaned.  Eventually the cattle made their way back to the new large hay bale I had placed in the pasture this afternoon.  Buddy finally went to the back part of the corral to watch them.

Tomorrow I have more fence to fix before letting the cattle out of the corral to eat more front yard grass.

The broken logs were the top log on the right section and the second from top log on the left section.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Mud and cattle

After all the rain this past weekend we finally caught a break.  Tuesday was dry; and today was mostly sunny and dry, except for a brief shower in the evening.

Tuesday I was able to move a large bale of hay out for the cattle.  The pasture - with grass - is more dry than the corral.  Most of the main corral is grass-less and therefore a mud pit.

Today it was time to move a large hay bale into Buddy's part of the corral.  This meant driving through the corral, which while drier, is still muddy.  The tractor had no problem driving through the mud.  While the mud is many inches deep the ground under that layer is thankfully solid.

On Tuesday much drier than when it was raining - but still muddy.

By the end of the weekend a lake was around this feeder.

Here are photos of the cattle after I let them out of the corral so they could eat from the new bale.

At the new bale

The calves eat the remnants from the site of the previous hay bale.

Dirty face

Calf 13

A video of a cow and her calf.  43 seconds long.

A video of some of the calves.  2 minutes 18 seconds long.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Online auction buys

A local auction house appears to now do only online auctions.  There were a few items I was interested in and I bid.  This was a first for me.  The nice part I was at home on my computer and could do other stuff too while waiting for my item to come up for final bidding.  The closing of the items started at 5 pm.

Each item 'closed' for bidding every 30 seconds so there was an accurate time when each item would be closed for bidding.  If someone bid in the last minute the item's bidding window would be extended one minute.  This could go on as long as someone bid in the last minute.

First up for me were irrigation connectors and sprinklers.  They were 3 inch connectors and they matched the irrigation pipes I bought from Donna's mother's estate last year.  Her mother had the 3 inch connectors but they were stolen between the time I looked at the pipes and the time Donna and I got the pipes.

After I picked up Donna from the airport after her vacation we drove out to the auction barn to look at the connectors.  No, they were not the connectors stolen from her mother.

One can bid anytime before the final countdown.  The bid at 5 pm was $7.  I bid $8.  Another person was also interested in the connectors and by the time the item got to the final window at 7 pm we had traded quite a few bids.  I believe one or maybe both of us bid in the final minute and extended the clock.  I won the bid, and with the extra 15% auction commission, paid $138.   More than I hoped to pay but much cheaper than if I bought new.

While new connectors have good seals, unlike the dried ones in these used connectors, new connectors cost around $39 each.  I bought 22 connectors, two "t" connectors, and a two or three end plugs.  And the same number of sprinkler heads (though the sprinkler heads looked to be very worn and I may only get a few of them be any good).   So... much less than buying new.

Then three hours after I bought the connectors my other item of interest came up: an electric cattle prod.   New, the cheapest one I found was about $60.   Again I had traded a few bids before final window at 10 pm, though not near as many as for the connectors.   The other bidder quit bidding before the final window so all I had to do was sit and wait in case he bid at the last minute.  He or she didn't.  I paid a little over $25 for the cattle prod.  Now to get some C batteries and see if it works.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Another broken corral fence board

Rain!  Rain!  Rain!!!   Some parts of the valley are getting flooded.  My property is fine, except for the corral.  The loose grass-free ground in the corral is a mud pit.  The rain is supposed to start ending tomorrow - thank goodness.

This morning when I checked on the cattle I saw that Buddy broke another board in an effort to smell a cow possibly in heat.

So... in the rain I fixed it.

The bottom new board is one I initially used on top.  After nailing it there I felt it was too narrow and found another wider board.  I nailed the extra board down low where the fence board is thinner.

Buddy laid out of the rain while I fixed the fence.  Which was nice as then he wasn't underfoot.

For those interested in calf 13, here is photo of him and another calf taken last week before the rain took off.

What a difference a month makes in the size of calves.