Friday, December 16, 2011

Bye bye, babies

Our babies are all grown up! Well, at least as grown up as we get to see them. Our calf babies were born in January through March of this year, and we got to see them grow up until early in November. Our cattle farm is a cow-calf farm, which means that we keep our adult cows, they get to have babies every year, and when the babies are around 8-10 months old we sell them. We wean the calves from their mothers when they are 4-6 months old (then they are called weanlings). When they are a year old, they are called yearlings.

This is Hank back in April. He was only about 3 months old then, but he was always our biggest calf.hank on the hill

This year, we kept the heifers (girls) to increase the size of our herd, but we are going to sell the bulls (boys). Instead of directly selling the bulls, we send them to a bigger farm with lots of other bulls that are about the same age to do some eating and growing. This farm is called the “bull test.” We pay a fee for having our bulls there. In exchange, the bulls are fed and all their growth is monitored. We get lots of statistics back on our kids, as well as the other bulls in the test. This helps up improve on the genetics in our herd for the next year. We can see which cows had bulls that grew fast, and which cows had bulls that didn’t do so well.

One early morning in November, we rounded up all the calves. We had to separate out the bulls from the heifers – the heifers got to stay for a little longer. (That’s Hank in the front, and Charlie in the back.)

who meThe boys were not too thrilled with our plan, and took off into the pasture. We had to do a bit of way We did manage to get everyone caught, and we loaded up our four bull calves in the trailer.calves in trailer 2Bye bye, boys!calves in trailer 1We’ll get periodic statistics reports on the kids until late next summer, and then all the bulls from the test will go into an auction. Most of the people at the auction will be buying “breeding stock,” or bulls for their herds. These boys are destined for some “hard work” – they’ll all be responsible for getting a bunch of cows pregnant in about a year!

Isn’t that the life? Sometimes I wish I could go to a spa, hang out with some new friends, eat a whole bunch, and have my whole focus be on putting on some weight! Actually, that sort of sounds like Christmas around here…

1 comment:

Real Time Web Analytics