Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Livestock mischief

I tend not to trap pocket gophers in the areas the cattle have access as the cattle are so darn curious they often disturb the traps.  But with so few pocket gophers this year (only 11 so far) I decided to put out a couple traps to get a recent pocket gopher.

I waited until the cattle were taking their noontime siesta under the neighbor's trees to dig the holes and place the traps.  I placed a small metal rod with no plastic milk jug as a marker in the area of (but not next to) the two traps. I tried to set the marker among alfalfa to somewhat hide it. In the evening I found the metal rod bent to one side, one trap covered with dirt by the cattle, and the other trap broken as a cow stepped on it down in the hole.

In all of the large hayfield, they found the traps.  They must have seen me way across the field when I set the traps.

And the cattle would have to step on one of my good round traps.  The company doesn't make round traps anymore, only square ones.  I find the round traps better on the occasions the pocket gophers avoid the square traps for some reason. 

Also, in the evening the horses were up to no good.  I have the gates to the south part of the corral closed.  Coming back from spraying weeds, and finding the broken trap, I found the horses in the south part of the corral.  They somehow had lifted one gate off its hinges until it fell over.  Then they walked over it to get to the south pasture.

The gate was on my list for an upgrade once I finish the nearby well and water trough work (waiting on a new pump).  I chased the horses out of this area, re-hung the gate, and added a temporary wire so it can't be lifted off the hinges.   The horses were right at the gate once I finished my work but they couldn't get through the gate.  I know the white horse masturbates using this gate so that may be how it was popped off the hinges.   The owner says the white horse is not masturbating on the gate, it must have worms and has an itchy butt.  Having an itchy butt from worms is better than having a masturbating horse?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tarping hay

While round hay bales tend to shed water, placing a tarp over them is a good idea, especially when the bales are right next to one another.

Many of the tarps I own have one or more holes in them.  None of the tarps are large enough.  I was able to find and buy one tarp large enough to cover 28 of the 29 bales.  The tarp is 30 by 50 feet.  Or maybe a bit larger.  I had measured the bales at 32 by 53 ft.    It is nice to have a single tarp as water could get in where smaller tarps meet.   The tarp set me back $119.

The weather forecast has a good chance of rain starting tomorrow and lasting through the weekend.  Isolated scattered rain shower for today usually means I don't get rain.  Not today.  I was able to get the tarp over the bales just before the rain came.

Then I was able to get the tarp tied down on the corners just before the wind picked up.  I tied the tarp down in many spots in case the wind gets to howling.

The 29th hay bale

Still working on getting a tractor to move the hay bales this Winter.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Finally, rain

July was very dry.  After a couple of minor teases earlier this week Friday morning the rain finally came.  And it rained hard.  Thankfully with no wind.

The cattle came in to huddle together by the patio.

Last but not least, Buddy the bull accompanied the new cow. What a gentleman.  She is still limping.  Poor girl.  Her calf was with the herd by the patio.

A 46 second video of Buddy the bull walking with the new cow.  You can hear how hard the rain was falling.

I bought this tarp to cover my round hay bales.  With the dry weather I thought I had more time to cover the bales.  Now I will have to wait until the hay dries.

It rained hard.  Combined with the dry hard ground it took a while for the water to soak in.  Daisy came outside to drink as she prefers water everywhere other than her water dish in the house.  Tammy had even bought Daisy a nice metal dish for water and Daisy still prefers water outside.

In the evening another rain event came.  Initially it passed to the east of me as seen in the photos below.  At sunset it began to rain lightly.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Another pair

Thursday Dan asked if I could help him load a cow/calf pair.  He was thinking of buying the pair but first had to take them to the vet.  The really old couple who owned the pair had an old and simple loading facility and if the cattle didn't want to be loaded it could be a real chore.  When we arrived they already had the cow in the short run with boards blocking the way and no gate.  We got the cow loaded with not much effort.  Her calf was in the small outer area with another calf.  It took both Dan and I to separate the calves and get the right one loaded.

The cow had a limp and the vet found the hooves were too long and several hooves had cracks and splits in them and one hoof's tip had broke.  Initially the cow was put in a squeeze chute but to trim the hoofs they needed to lay the cow on her side.  When the cow lept out of the squeeze chute it must had caught the broken tip and broke it all the way off.  The hoof was now bloody.

The vet and his two helpers wrapped a few ropes around the cow's head and neck and body and easily laid the cow on her side on the ground.  The vet showed his helper apprentice how to trim the hoofs with a grinder to shorten them and to reduce the pressure on the splits.

When the ground is soft and not rocky hooves don't get ground down. The vet said being in wet conditions causes hooves to enlarge and sometimes they crack when drying out.  He thought the one hoof with a crack all the way to the hairline would take 8 months to grow out.

I need to watch Momma.  I noticed this Spring her hooves were long.  Her back hooves more so and reminded me of slippers.  She had no problems walking.  I checked when I got home and her hooves are just as long and still no problems walking or signs of cracks.

With no major problems causing the limping Dan decided to take a chance and buy the cow/calf pair.  He wanted to immediately breed her as it is getting late in the season to breed cows.  That meant he wanted to pasture them at my place.  With no rain the grass is not growing so I am not eager to have more cattle right now.  If Dan couldn't pasture the pair with my bull he wasn't going to buy the pair, so I relented.  What's one more cow?  Besides, the bull appears to have satisfied all the cows I have and a new female would make him happier.

When we unloaded the new cow the bull immediately came over.  He hasn't left her side since then.  With his attention, if she is not in heat she may be quickly.

The new cow is the light brown cow.

The bull often sticks his nose up close and the cow's smell can be quite strong.  That is why he then makes a face.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Owl fight

Tonight I noticed something strange about an owl sitting on top of the power pole by the garage.  The owl had a mouse hanging from its mouth.  Daisy was sitting by the house and also saw the owl.  She started chattering at the owl.

A minute later another owl swooped up to the top of the power pole with a loud screech.  There is really only room for one owl on top of the pole.  The two owls started fighting and flapping their wings.  Then the first owl flew off towards the hay shed.  The second owl stood on top of the pole with its back to me.

Did it have the mouse?

Nope.  It started screeching again and then turned to look at me and Daisy before flying back where it came from.

I wish I had my camera, but I didn't and it was over in a matter of minutes.