Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Thing About Grassfed Dexters...

...They won't come to a bucket of grain! Yep, that is one of the downsides to the grassfed cows we have because they just aren't to interested in the sound of grain in a bucket. And, grain in the bucket would have come in handy last night for an hour or more after 10:00 PM when we were out trying to round up our new cow, heifer, and bull. Let's just say it was dark, our flashlights were failing fast, and of course it had to be cold and very windy! But, when it was all said in done all three of them were in a pen. There was just one problem...

All three of them ended up in the main lot where the rest of the cows and heifers were. This would not be that big of a deal except for one little thing. There were four heifers in there that I did not want bred because they were too young. We did the very best that we could, but finally we had to give up after only getting three of them cut out and into a small pen in the corner (I will move them tomorrow). What I wouldn't have given for a lariat last night!

As if that wasn't enough ... I still had a funeral message to prepare. So, if you are of the praying inclination I wouldn't mind if you lifted me up today as I do my very first solo funeral for a man in our church that has been a big help to us. He was one of the great group of men that came out and worked on the house to get us in a finished building before we had to move. His help with the drywall and mudding was invaulable and a true expression of what the Church is supposed to be like.

Nevertheless, the bull is now in with the cows. I guess we will see what Hershey didn't get covered and then I will make sure we have a building up year for bad season calving. Actually, I'm going to think about pulling him out this afternoon. What I really need to do is just weigh the pros and cons. The pro of course is that I would actually get some 2009 calves out of the cows that I know are not bred. The con on the other hand is that it just pushes back my attempt to get on a spring calving schedule back another year for those cows.

We'll just see what happens...

10 comments:

BlairH said...

You could probably condition them to the sound of alfalfa cubes rattling in a bucket or can.

Yeoman said...

While it isn't something you wouldn't just suddenly take up with out experience or learning how, I honestly don't know how anyone works cattle without a horse.

Oh, and I know about four wheelers, so I'll say it again.

I don't know how anybody works cattle without a horse.

On the lariat, by the way, I'm not sure you want to rope a bull or cow from the ground in too many situations. That can be bad. Heck, roping a bull can be pretty bad.

Yeoman said...

Type alert, where I said:

"While it isn't something you wouldn't just suddenly take up with out experience or learning how, I honestly don't know how anyone works cattle without a horse."

I meant to say you shouldn't just get on a horse without some training, nor should a person figure that because they can ride, they can work cattle with a horse.

Coffee hasn't kicked in yet.

Ethan Book said...

BlairH - I am all over that. Our other cows are used to that sound, but these were the newbies. It just made it more exciting.

Yeoman - The horse is a good point, I do think it would be more difficult to justify on a farm with 20 to 30 cows and less than 40 acres of pasture. I would think a good cow horse would cost and the ability to train your own ... well, I know that takes a skill I don't have.

Oh, and I wasn't planning on roping the bull or even the cow for that matter. I just wanted it to get a hold of the little heifers that I wanted to cut out! I'm not that crazy ... very often :)

Art Blomquist said...

Ah the joys of the midnight cowboy! A memory you can pass on to the grand kids.

Your in our thoughts today.

Rich said...

"...it just pushes back my attempt to get on a spring calving schedule back another year for those cows..."

If you are planning on raising heifers for replacements to build up your herd, I wonder if it might be preferable to "ease" into a spring calving season.

As an example, if your existing cows calved in March next year, their heifers would be older than usual when first bred if they were then bred to calve in April or May. Since a heifer which has its first pregnancy slightly delayed is supposed to have more long-term fertility it would make a much better replacement.

Then next year, the existing cows can once again have their calving delayed slightly so that they calve in April or May and any replacements could be bred to calve when they are 24 months old.

Jena said...

You're not alone chasing cows! Our steers (still staying a friends) were out the other day for most of the day. My husband was less than thrilled about that! My in-laws also spent a few hours rounding up their cows and calves this week after an escape.

As far as horses, I have mixed feelings. I ride an Arab who was pastured with cattle for much of his life. He hasn't had any formal training but is quick and not afraid of cows. I've rounded up cows with him and he did great. I don't think I'd go in with a bull though! Plus, it really helps to have someone who knows what they're doing to direct the operation. I guess if you don't have/want horses anyway it wouldn't be worth it.

Ethan Book said...

Rich - That is an interesting point about raising up replacement heifers for the herd. Something I hadn't thought about and something that might actually work out for us. One thing is for sure ... Mr. Bull (who I have named Barnabas so I can say "Hey Barn") is sure interested in a few girls.

Jena - Glad to see that I'm not the only one going through it. We were doing pretty well except for one dun calf ... I think it is the same calf that had been giving my dad trouble when they were down there. She is high strung for sure.

KenWood said...

I admire your determination to follow your Father's path. Be careful out there in the dark with cattle, particularly bulls! There is a reason polled cattle are so popular with cattlemen! It's bad enough to get mashed by an old cow on the prod but a horn in the gut would be a disaster. Fortunately there is a MUCH better solution: a good dog. Get a Farm Collie or English Shepard. They are the classic old farm dog and one dog is worth about 3 men in moving stock. I look forward to catching up on your blog. But man; YOU NEED A DOG!

Ethan Book said...

KenWood - Thanks for checking out the blog. I agree a dog could be helpful from time to time ... just another thing to add to my "think about getting list". As a beginning farmer that list is getting very long :)

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