Thursday, December 10, 2009

Winter is Here ... Cows are in the Shed

It always seems like if I'm not prepared for something it comes and worse than expected. Then, if I am prepared it doesn't happen. But, this past few days it was a case of me being somewhat prepared and the winter storm showing up pretty much as they said it would. All told I think we had around 14 inches of snow between Tuesday night and Wednesday night and with that came high winds and then finally bitter cold temperatures. My preparation this time came in the form of working on the inside of the cattle shed.

On Monday my in-laws showed up and my father-in-law helped me line the inside walls of the shed with oak boards to protect the steel. We also built a hay feeder along the inside wall for winter feeding. I was quite surprised with how quickly everything came together and by the end of the night we had the inside of the shed mostly done and even had the fencing up for the winter paddock. With all of that accomplished I decided that I might as well have a little cattle drive and move everyone the one hundred yards or so to their new home.

The cattle drive was a piece of cake. I just called the cows over and led them across the yard with a bale of hay. I can now look out the front windows and not see any cows ... it is a nice sense of accomplishment to see an empty pasture. Also, feeding in the shed is much easier and less wasteful because everything is contained in the feeder and the feeder is right next to the hay storage. (I hope to have pictures up soon)

But, none of this would have been possible without the help of my father-in-law. He is a woodworker and has made much of the furniture in our house, but he has also lent his skills to us building the house and finishing up the shed (the inside and the steel siding). The picture on the left is of a roll top desk he made for my wife. You can check out some of the other pieces he has made and see what is available on his website (he is taking orders and has a few things in the shop ready to go) ... I think the shed is pretty nice, but as you can see he can do quite a bit more!

5 comments:

Rich said...

Is it typical to put cattle into a paddock or pen for the winter in Iowa or is that just an extension of your bedded feeding area in the barn?

What are you using for your bedding material inside the barn?

Last winter, I had an abundance of year-old round bales that I fed pretty freely out in the pasture without bale feeders, that eventually built up a moderately deep (2 ft.) bedding pack. It is a surprisingly satisfying feeling to use all that bedding to build a mountain of a compost pile in the spring and watch it turn into a smaller mountain of finished compost over the summer.

Yeoman said...

I was also wondering if it was common there to pen cattle for the winter. It isn't here, and our winters can be very cold.

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Rich said...

After only a week of feeding hay in the snow and ice (a rarity in my area), I understand better why you built a feeding area into your barn.

If I had to deal with a significant amount of snow every year, I would definitely build me a covered hay feeding area (even without snow, it might be a possibility).

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