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Friday, November 29, 2013

More Cattle Adventures

Calving in November. Not something I look forward to but sometimes it happens and I have to deal with it. I knew this little black cow was close to ready the night before so I got out early in the morning to check. Sure enough, she was out in the bush by the far hay feeder with a new calf. It was not too cold or windy but still, 15 degrees F will chill an animal when it is wet and this cow had not done a really good job of drying off the calf. It was standing and shaky but at least not laying in the snow.

Last winter I carried a calf from about that same point all the way back to the shelter and it is not something I'd care to repeat . So I walked back to the yard and fired up the old GMC, threw a bit of flax straw in the back. Luckily there is not too much snow to get around with a 2 wheel drive pickup with all season tires on.

The cow didn't look too threatening but you can never be sure. I gave her a handful of hay to divert her attention, quickly picked up the calf and carried it out to the truck box where it stood, shakily for the short ride back to the shelter.

I had put up corral panels to partition off a corner of the shelter hoping to shut them in there the same as last winter. The rest of the herd followed along looking for their morning chop ration. I figured I could attract the mother into the corral in the shelter with a pail of chop but no, she was more interested in heading back to the bush where her calf had been born. A little confused. Meanwhile the calf lays in the shelter, which is really just a protection from the wind, getting colder by the minute. So I picked the calf up again and carried it right into the barn which is a much more comfortable place to work. Got the old oil fired space heater set up and directed on the calf, at a safe distance so as not to burn it. After a while it laid down, still shaking and not looking too lively.

Eventually I shut down the heater and figured give it a bit of time, maybe look at getting some milk replacer for it. Just as I was leaving the barn I saw the herd returning , including the mother cow, and she was coming right in for a drink from the trough which is right by the door of the barn. So, pick up that calf again and carry it outside the door where she can see it and hopefully follow it into the barn. I got lucky, it worked. Nobody else got in the way and she was enticed into the barn where I was able to close the doors against the elements and let them spend some time together. It is probably the best place for the calf just now. I frequently see coyotes around the shelter area and while I have never had an incident of a coyote attacking a calf, no need to take the chance.

Twenty four hours later they are looking good.
 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Feeding Cows With The Cockshutt 40


Just a few scenes from cattle feeding today. It was windy and miserable out in the open but in the shelter of the trees, not bad at all.  Not a lot of snow yet and the cows could probably forage around and still find something to eat out there. I started putting out a hay bale for them about a week ago. Old hay from last year but it is still good once you get past the weathered exterior. I think these animals are mostly pets. Low input and low return but it can be entertaining.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Good Time To Be A Lazy Farmer

Farm activity has slowed down some since harvest was completed here on Oct. 29. Just in time too as it was not long after that we had snow and even colder weather. With wind chill factors down in the -20 to -30 range for the last few days it is no kind of weather to work much outside. There is just enough snow to shovel a little. Helps to keep warm. Not enough to be a problem getting around yet. Grain movement is extremely slow and my September canola contract finally got hauled earlier this week. This was the year I planned to move as much grain as possible before winter set in. Guess that won't be happening at this rate.
I will post another "Lazy Farmer" cartoon from the 1960s. I am not trying to compete with the real Lazy Farmer who some days seems surprisingly busy

Monday, November 4, 2013

Harvest Done

It took a while but harvest 2013 is finally complete as of Oct. 29. Frost in the mornings and ice on the sloughs. Hard starting cold engines but the last swath went up the feeder house and now I just have to pile and burn the straw. At least it was comfortable working with the heater keeping the cab warm . No grain dust to endure. A far cry from the 1942 harvest here on Winstanley Grove when they had to deal with snow, engine breakdowns and other problems.
I had good intentions of getting the crop sold before winter set in but as usual, the best laid plans of mice and men, etc. Flax price is good but the best I can get is December delivery. Seeing as I am still waiting to deliver my September contracted canola I guess I will not be surprised to be moving the grain in January. All the fun of clearing snowed in yards and grain bins in freezing cold temperatures comes to mind.
In other news tractor number 2 has a breakdown. Water pump appears to have sprung a fairly major leak on the tractor. Not unheard of on a sixty year old tractor but a little unexpected as  I am pretty sure I just replaced the pump a couple of years ago.