Are you looking forward to spring as much as we are?
Even though March has decided to give it one more kick at the can this weekend, it still feels like spring is almost here. We’ll be glad when it finally arrives, and the only ones happier than us on the farm will be the cows.
What does winter look like for them?
Winter is hard on any livestock. They have to deal with cold winds, all manner of precipitation, and most of all a lack of fresh green grass. We are lucky enough to have fairly good quality hay, but it’s still not the same as mouthfuls of the fresh stuff that they get in the summer.
In the winter we move the cattle to a field near our barn, where we are able to feed them their hay bales easily with the tractor. We also keep a couple of pens ready to be able to let some or all of the cows into the barn on days with particularly bad weather.
Big D the bull hanging out at the barn.
Once the first couple of feet of snow have settled in, the cows hunker down and generally stick to walking from feeder to water to barn and never leave their well packed cow paths.
On sunny days you find them all standing broadside to the sun with a half asleep look of dazed bliss on their faces.
Last years’ calves are about 6 months old by the time winter hits, and so are big enough to handle themselves well.
Towards spring (around now) the first of the new wave of calves will start to hit the ground. The timing is a tricky balance. We want calves early enough that they are well developed by next winter, but not so early that they are born into cold or inclement weather.
Calves can be very resilient, but we want them to have the best start possible. We’ll definitely share some pictures when this year’s cuties start to show up.
We were almost rid of our snow (only a foot or so left) up until the fresh snow this weekend. And we’re getting our last delivery of hay this week, so hopefully all the snow is gone within the month and the grass has started to grow well.
It will be nice to stop feeding these hungry hungry hippos! And it’s always a blast to let the herd onto the first grown-up pasture and watch them run and buck with glee across the field.
For us, spring will also mean getting a couple of our steers to the butcher, so that we have lots of good beef ready to go for BBQ season. We’ll be updating you all in a couple of weeks when we’re ready to start taking orders. For now, stay warm and enjoy the sunshine!
Willie & Jorie