Friday, December 19, 2014

Fast hay move

Today was time for another hay bale for the cattle.  The temperature was at freezing - not too hot, not too cold.  No rain.  No snow.  Moving the bale: piece of cake.  It was relatively easy to lift up the metal feeder, easy to hook up the chain to the pallet, easy to pull the bale.   Bing, bing, bing and I was done.

Since everything went well I pulled the bale even out further into the field.  Each bale leaves some leftover hay and manure.  No sense putting every bale in the same spot and building up a large pile of leftover crap.

Old spot and new spot

Before moving the bale I put a small bale of hay in the wooden feeder in the corral.  That distracted the cattle while I worked.   Afterwards Beulah drank from the water trough while I filled it.  In the video below you will see that she would dunk her nose before drinking.  Daisy is licking water off the well cover.

Here is a short video of Daisy, Beulah, Rose and the cow with the sore leg:


Monday, December 15, 2014

Late afternoon mountains

The mountains late Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Out of the corral

The weather was nice today so I got another large bale of hay for the cattle.  I planned on dragging the bale into the corral but I could not gently get the cattle to leave the corral.  If I yelled and made a fuss perhaps I could have done so.  Most of the cattle moved to the open gate but Buddy the bull just stood and watched me walk back and forth herding the cows around him.  Then Beulah and Momma - the two smartest cows - kept circling around Buddy to get back to the wooden feeder.  They thought I planned on tossing more hay into that feeder.

So I gave up after a light bulb went on in my mind.  I don't need for the cattle to be locked in the corral right now.  Why not put the bale in the north pasture?

That's what I did.  I shut the corral gate locking the cattle inside the corral and then drug the bale into the north pasture through the NE pasture gate.

The temperature was slightly above freezing. Even though the ground was frozen, the top layer was muddy/icy.  It took some jerking to get the bale to move.  Once it moved I kept going.  All four wheels spun mud as you can see below.

Having the bale in the north pasture also helps with the manure problem.  Right now, after six bales in the corral the area around the feeder is a big mess of mud and manure.  Dispersing manure in the north pasture will be easier than removing manure from the corral.

I had to roll the metal feeder from the corral to the north pasture and the bale.  I thought getting the feeder through the gate without the cattle would be a problem but the cattle hung around the wooden feeder and some checked out the spot where the metal feeder had sat earlier.  So I was able to roll the feeder through the gate without dodging cattle.

Once I had everything ready I opened the gate and had to encourage the cattle to come.  They stood around the wooden feeder until the red heifer came out.  Once she neared the bale the other cattle noticed and came out too.

The cattle stood at the bale feeding all afternoon.  Late afternoon I checked and saw they had made a mess as some hay lay on the ground around the feeder. I don't like it when they waste hay.

Here is a short video of the cattle coming out to the hay bale:

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Slurry manure

Warmer weather which means a water, mud and manure mess.  Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy!   Yet Daisy follows me into the coral when I feed cattle hay.  She is not a prissy kitty.

Rain today.  The cattle took five days to eat a bale instead of the usual four.  That meant they finished the bale on the one wet miserable day.  I fed them small bales today as the forecast is for better weather tomorrow.  I don't feel like laying on a wet soggy ground to wrap a chain around a pallet.  And I had other stuff to do today.

When I built the feeder south of the barn I brought in extra dirt to raise the ground around the feeder higher than the ground further out.  No matter, around the feeder is a slurry mix of water, mud, manure and pee.  I took a shovel and pushed a lot of it out of the corral before feeding the cattle.

The calves have gotten used to me.  They used to be skittish around me.  Now they get in the way, checking the shovel and me out as I pushed the slurry mess.  Rose especially likes to rub her head against me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Momma and the metal feeder

Momma is too smart.  She's back to her old tricks.  Standing in the hay feeder.  She used to do that in my wood feeder but I never saw her do it in a metal feeder.    That may explain why the cattle didn't want to finish all the hay from the previous bale...  Momma stood on the hay with her muddy manure feet.

She was doing it again this morning, and would go back to doing it when she thought I wasn't paying attention.  Then a second cow started copying Momma.  I took some barb-less wire and strung it through the upright bars around the feeder.  That appears to have finally stopped this behavior.  Hay is too expensive to waste, and at the rate the cattle are eating the hay I may need to get more hay in the Spring.

Daisy usually comes with me when I check on the cattle in the morning.  She often walks on top of the fence.  I've never seen her fall off, which is important as she walks right above the cattle's water trough.

This morning I had success finally with the cow with the injured leg.  Yesterday I put the powdered aspirin inside an apple.  But she spit the apple out and wouldn't eat it.  This morning I tried grain again and she ate all the grain along with the aspirin.   Her leg seems to get better and worse different days in her recovery.  This morning her leg was definitely better.