Saturday, March 08, 2008

Dexters Eat Hay!!!

I'm not sure if any one can relate to this, but let me just say right away that it started out as an experiment. About a year-and-a-half ago we really came to the realization that farming was something that we wanted to pursue. We had discussions with many different people and looked at many different options and decided it was the direction we wanted to go. After some research we decided that we would like to have grassfed Dexter cattle as one of our centerpiece operations if we were able to make a go at this farming thing. So, we started looking for Dexters thinking that it would be nice to have a bred cow or heifer and a steer that we could raise for our own freezer. We just wanted to get a start on something and we worked out a deal with my family so that they could live on the farm.

We found exactly what we wanted, we made the trip and picked them up, and we had the beginnings of our Dexter herd ... or at least a bred heifer and a steer. It was a nice little way to get our feet wet. Well, one thing lead to another and I found some cows for sale in Missouri that I thought I needed and then we had six Dexters. Still not to many, but a nice little amount. We made hay this time and put up what we thought was going to be plenty! Then I found a few more Dexters for sale in Illinois ... and I just knew I needed them. So, after a trip to Illinois we added 7 more to the herd. Our "experiment" now numbered 13! That was 4 boys and 9 girls roaming the pastures of the farm and we were beginning to think the hay might not last.

Now, with that many Dexters roaming around and so many girls that would need to be breed soon we knew that we needed a bull. That is why we started our search for a bull that ended with Hershey. After many trials and tribulations we were finally able to go down and pick him up. There was only one problem ... when we drove out of Five Ponds Farm there was more than Hershey in the trailer. We also brought home a cow and her heifer calf! Now, if you are scoring along at home, the herd total is up to 5 boys and 11 girls purchased! Also, don't forget that we have already had two calves this year ... one of each (boy and girl) ... bring the grand total up to 6 boys and 12 girls and a herd of 18 hungry mouths that all love to eat hay! In fact, with all the snow we had this year they have had to eat A LOT of hay.

That brings me to the conclusion of this little story about our "experiment". Yesterday I had to take some time to drive down to the farm and the over to another farm to buy our third load of hay! What started out as, "plenty of hay for a heifer and a steer," just didn't cut it for a herd of 18 hungry mouths. Hopefully we will be seeing green grass soon and our herd can begin to forage on their own. I for one know that I don't want to buy any more hay this year!

One more word of caution ... make sure you have the details of your "experiment" spelled out completely before you take off on your venture! :)

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