Thursday, December 01, 2016

Snow and Excited Cattle

Snowed a little more overnight.  Did not melt today.  Winter may be here to stay.  So much for getting more projects done this year.

The cattle ate the first large hay bale and were standing outside the corral gate this afternoon.  I gave them a couple small hay bales while I hauled out another large hay bale.  This time I used a bale of this year's hay.  I used the bale that I accidentally started to unload before completely wrapping with twine.  The bale held together as I hauled it to the far end of the pasture.

After sundown I let the cattle out of the corral to go to the hay bale.  I didn't plan on leading them and they just milled around outside of the corral.  So I walked partway to the bale and they followed.  Half had passed me on their way to the bale when I began to talk to some of them nearby.  All of them quit walking and turned around to stand and look at me.

They wouldn't go on until I started walking out to lead them.  As I did Buddy got excited/annoyed.  He turned towards me and put his head down and began to jump up and down.

Uh oh.

As Buddy approached I told him to calm down.  He continued.  I was out in the open and immediately began walking quickly to the nearest tree.  Buddy followed.  I got behind the large tree and stood on a small pile of tires at the bottom of the tree.  Buddy pushed a number of the tires around on the other side of the tree for a minute before he settled down.

He moved back into the middle of some cows.  The cows still stood around.  This time I went around the south of the herd to get ahead of them.  They began to follow me again towards the hay bale.  I could see a few cows getting excited and Buddy in the distance again began to get excited.  I ran to the next group of trees in the middle of the pasture and stood behind a large one.  The cows and Buddy ran past.  Now they could see the hay bale at the far end.  They ran over to the bale.

Big Red was one of the last cows to run by.  After she got by me and the tree she turned around and started to come towards me.  I yelled at her to back off.  She whirled around and ran to the hay bale.

I don't know what put a bee in their bonnet.  Maybe me talking to them as they initially walked to the hay bale confused them, then annoyed them.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Snow dusting

We got a dusting of snow today.  Winter is coming.  In the following photo you can see the darker area where I last drug the disc last week.  I haven't drug the disc since the disc's hydraulic cylinder broke.  The replacement part should arrive next week.  Just in time for the predicted freeze from an arctic air mass.



The new cattle are settling in.  The cow still occasionally moos.  I fed them some of the apples I have left.  They like apples.   Buddy came by this morning and spent time outside the corral where the new cattle stood inside.  Introducing himself. He seemed happy.  I think he smiled at me to thank me for bringing a few new females to add to his harem.

The stock trailer is still drying out from when I washed the manure out yesterday after hauling the cattle.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Two new cattle

Today I bought more cattle.  I bought a bred cow and her last year's bred heifer.  They were bred to a black bull.  The cow is 3 1/2 years old.

In the back of my mind I thought I could support one more cow and was open to getting one.  I should have enough hay for this Winter.   There was a Craiglist ad for these two cattle.  Also included was the cow's heifer from this year.

I don't need or want a heifer calf.  If I got the heifer I would have to keep her separate from Buddy until April or so next year.  Even then the heifer may still be a little too small for Buddy to breed as he has gotten pretty big.  So I interested Dan in the heifer and he bought her to go with the four steers he bought from me.

All the cattle are very nice stock.   If the calf was a steer I would have kept it until Spring.  Since cattle prices are so low right now, now is the time to buy if one follows the "Buy low, sell high" strategy.


Tom and Pat (the owners), their son Chris, Dan, Donna and I loaded the cattle into my stock trailer.  The owners and their son had the cattle use to treats and that helped in loading the cow and bred heifer into the trailer.  I placed them in the front half of the trailer and closed the divider to keep them there.

The son and I had to re-position their temporary corral panels to encourage the calf to also get into the trailer.  When herding the cattle I used Dan's sorting stick as I forgot mine.  The cow and calf each kicked once when being herded and the stick allowed me to keep my distance when sorting.

If I used the trailer's back sliding door it had a lip and I felt that would make the trailer entrance even higher.  So I swung the back door open.  I had backed the trailer up to the loading corral.  To close the door that meant driving forward a little bit.  To prevent the calf from bolting out the back of the trailer and getting away the son and Dan slid one corral panel behind the trailer and moved it forward against the trailer as Donna drove my pickup and trailer forward. Once we had room I swung the back door closed as the corral panel was slid to one side.

Everything went well and everyone agreed the cattle loading went better than expected.

I went to Dan's place first and unloaded the heifer.

The loaded cattle with the calf in the back.

The heifer on the left meeting her new buddies (my four steers I sold Dan earlier and who are getting fat).

The steers were all curious about the new girl.  One steer tried to mount her already.  Boys will be boys.

I am keeping the cow and heifer in my corral for a while.  This will allow them to get used to their new home and new friends.  Also, so the cow and heifer don't go wandering off to look for the cow's calf.

Overall all of the cattle are calm and easy going.  The cow does moo occasionally. Even now as I write this post. Probably calling for her calf.

My cattle coming in to see the new cattle.

Mama, Rose and Big Red.

Beulah and the new cattle.

The cow.  She is named Sugar. Probably because of the little white around her udder.

Greeting one another through the corral fence.

My cattle greeting the new cattle.

Sugar.

The new heifer.  Donna thought of naming her 'Spice'.

The Swan Mountains near where Tom and Pat live.

Since Tom and Pat no longer will have any cattle they sold me their seven corral panels. I got them for a good price so I also bought the bent one and the one missing one 'leg'. Tom and Pat once had a calf get its head stuck in the leg and they had to cut the leg off to free the calf.



Tom and Pat are interesting people and both are talkers like me.  They were selling their cattle as he is 85 and she in her late 70s and they no longer wanted to care for cattle over Winter.

Tom is a motorcycle aficionado. He had a half dozen old racing motorcycles he restored (and still restores) and rides.  He has a beautiful old Ducati motorcycle and a Norton motorcycle from the 1960s.  For his 85th birthday Tom he said he took his Ducati out for a ride and (briefly as he is now 85) rode the Ducati 85 mph.  Both Tom and Pat look (and act) younger than their ages.

All of his motorcycles have small seats that really only fit one person.  If you are very young and skinny you can maybe squeeze your wife or girlfriend in very close behind you on the small seat.  And she would have to hold on to you very tightly to keep from falling off.

What a life.

Monday, November 28, 2016

First hay bale

Today I put a large hay bale out for the cattle.  The first of the season.  I used a large bale of last year's leftover hay.

I hauled the bale to the western side of the north pasture.  This area needs the ground to be fertilized.  And I've noticed in the past where I had placed large hay bales the next year the grass grew thicker and better.

When I opened the gate to let the cattle out of the corral they expected me to toss another small bale in the wooden feeder.  I had to lead them out and over to the west side of the pasture where the bale sat.  Once they got close they ran the rest of the way to the feeder.



I had to haul the metal feeder from the east to the west side of the pasture.  Here is the feeder before I rolled it the rest of the way over and tipped it over the bale.



Afterwards I checked the neighbor's fence where Panda had gotten through.  She hadn't broken any wires.  On one post the middle two wires were missing their staples.  I think she then was able to slip through the fence.  That may be why she couldn't find her way back through the fence.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Jailbreak in the dark

No snow yet.  The cattle are still grazing in the pasture and in Calvin's field.  Tomorrow I planned to look at Calvin's field to see how much there is left to eat.  Might be time to give them a large hay bale.  As usual the cattle beat my plans by a day or two.  This evening around 7 pm Curtis called as a car drove up my driveway.  The woman in the car said she saw a black white faced cow on the road.  It has gone to Rusty's yard and seemed to want back on the road according to her.  She last seen the cow heading down the driveway to John's place.

I called Donna for help then went out to look.  As it was 7 pm it was pitch black outside with no moon.

Rusty's pickup was in the driveway with its lights shining down the long driveway.  Rusty and Curtis were out.  Armed with a flashlight I ran down the driveway to John's house to let him know why I would be wandering in his field with a flashlight.  No sign of the missing cow.

John's wife said John told her he had seen four of my cattle in his field before he went to bed. She seen only the one cow. She tried to close their gate but couldn't due to the gate leaning into the ground and grass.  Neither called to let me know.

I closed their gate.  Then I went back to Rusty and Curtis to let them know to keep an eye out for up to four cattle.  Donna arrived and we went back to get my pickup to use the pickup's lights to look for my cattle.

I turned the barn light on.  Some cattle mooed outside the corral in the north pasture.  I got a hay bale and put it in the wooden feeder.  More cattle came.  Once all came I counted and recounted and recounted.  No matter how many times I came up with one cattle missing.  At least Buddy the bull (who is white faced) was here. The white faced cow was also here.  Donna thought she saw Panda.  Maybe the missing cow was a broco faced cow.

I drove back to John's place.   Standing at the end of his driveway was Panda.  I went to open John's gate.  Panda was agitated.  She didn't like being blinded by my pickup's lights.  She ran past the pickup and Donna and went down to where Rusty had his pickup in the driveway.

I decided to take chance and try to let her go down to almost the road where there was a opening in the fence over to Curtis's driveway.  From there I could herd her through my gate between me and Curtis.

I let Curtis and Rusty know to let the cow go past them.  I followed Panda.  I tried walk briskly and not run.  When we got nearer the road I trotted to try to get past Panda so I could herd her to the right and through the fence opening.  After I started to trot Panda began to run to keep ahead of me.

Panda turned through the fence opening.  Instead of making a hard right she continued through Jerry's yard and along the road.  I decided to follow along and not make her go to a hard right.  Maybe I could herd her to my driveway.

Past Jerry's yard Panda walked on the road. She paused at the gate to my NE pasture.  She was still ancy.  I moved closer to open the gate.  As I moved closer Panda continued on to my driveway.

Now approaching down the road was a vehicle.  Hopefully they could see me and my flashlight. Being black Panda would be hard to see on the road.  Then behind me Rusty came with his pickup.  Once Panda she reached my driveway she turned in.  Once she got in to my yard and back to something she remembered she immediately got calmer.  Donna followed us in my pickup.  I closed my driveway gate.   I walked down to the coral gate.  This time Panda did not freak out when I walked past her.  After I opened the gate Panda walked into the corral.  The rest of the cattle were still eating hay.

I closed all the corral gates and am keeping the cattle in the corral overnight.  I went out to the north pasture and closed the gate to Calvin's field.  Tomorrow I will haul a large hay bale out to the north pasture and let the cattle eat on it.

Curtis and Rusty thought this was fun.  Me, I'm glad it turned out well, though I could have done without the excitement.