Monday, March 10, 2014

Cows just want to be difficult.

I have spent one week trying to get the cows organized.  They are not on board with this plan and have been thwarting every attempt to separate them.  The youngest calf is now almost eight months old and they all think milk straight from a tit is still necessary to sustain life.  They only nurse a couple of times a day but the poor cows are pregnant also and it is too much.  Gannon and I sorted the caves into the barn lot, the bull into the machine shop area and the female cows into orchard.  This put 150 feet of dead space between the mothers and calves.  No one liked this arrangement, there were some very vocal cows all night long.  The next morning the babies were still in the barn lot.  Now the barn lot was open to the upper pasture which is full of old not fixed fence (not secure). I was hoping that the cows would stay in the barn lot as they would be the closest to their mothers.  

Nope, Gannon found them out on the road by the school house.    He put them into the school house pasture, which they promptly got out of and into the lower pasture.  That dividing fence was just done last year but I had to go raise all the fences over the water last month and the cows just jump in the creek and wade up it.  The sheep refuse to get their feet wet!  Sometimes I think they think they are a cat.  I had not thought this would be an issue when I raised the fence.  So now the calves can get next to the mother's dividing fence which let's them nurse through the fence again!  I went to town and purchased a 240# supplemental feeding tub, 30% protein! vegetable matter only and placed it in with the female cows.  It took them a couple of days to figure it out.  Per the supplement directions the cows will eat 3/4 pound per day so it should last for three months. The babies should be born next month. 

A couple of days later the lower people gate got left open (not me) and the babies and bull got back into the machine shop area.  At least all three babies are in the same spot now.  We had to leave for the weekend but Sunday when we came back the bull was in the machine shop hay pile munching away contentedly.   I had a wire cow panel across it but he started lifting the middle and crawling under.  Now there are four T posts across the opening and panel is wired to them.  He went to the far end and found there was no anchor on the bottom of the T post.  He pushed it in and bent it while it stayed attached at the top of the post and proceeded to crawl under! I have it wired in two places at each post now.  The cows in general are forcing me to change my plans.  

PGG is having their Spring extravaganza sale this upcoming Friday and Saturday.  I plan on purchasing all my yearly supplies in one day at a 10-15% discount.  I even get to talk to some of the fence distributors. I might put in some metal corners using the fancy braces.  It is cheaper than three wooden posts and two cross braces.  I need to talk with someone about it.  I might just try it in one place this year and see how it does.  The real test is the animals.  I am going to take the trailer and fill it up!

My goal is going to be getting an area that is cow proof where the babies can go and not get to the mothers!  This has again prompted me to rearrange my fencing priorities.  I am going to have to do the upper pasture first.  The lower pasture needs about 100 feet of sheep fencing added to the upper half so the calves cannot reach through the fence and nurse.  That is not very much fence and totally do able this summer.  I am itching to get outside and get some fencing done.  Spring is here!