Monday, February 18, 2013

Hungry beasts

There’s not much that’s cuter than the first calf of the year! We’ve got our first four babies “on the ground,” with five more on the way at our house (and about 15 at our other farm). It’s not all fun and babies around here, though. While the babies primarily eat their momma’s milk, the mommas are big eaters – especially when they’re also feeding a 60-pound newborn!

calf 1
We grow the grass and hay that our cows eat all year long. We buy corn to supplement their feed in the winter and when they’re nursing their babies, but the bulk of their feed comes from our farm.

baling hay
We can store over 250 round bales of hay in our barns. Each bale weighs around 1500 pounds, so that’s the potential for 375,000 pounds (almost 190 tons) of hay storage!

farmer doc with round bales
We keep between 8-10 registered Angus ladies on the farm at our house. During the spring and summer when the pasture is growing, we won’t need to feed them hay at all. During the fall and winter, these 10 cows will eat 3 round bales of hay every week (That’s 4500 pounds, or over 2 tons, for anyone who’s doing the math.)

cow eating hay
The back pasture runs very close to the house. The cows turn on the motion-activated flood lights on the back of the house when they’re heading from their midnight snack to the shed to turn in for the night. We also have a great view of Cow Mountain from our bedroom and the back porch.

cows through the window
Beef cows are pretty self-sufficient. We check on them, make sure they have plenty of water, and feed them every day. But they really don’t need too much extra attention until calving time. When the girls get ready to start having babies (going on right now!) we make sure to check on them a few times a day. We rarely have to help a cow give birth, or take care of a sick calf. But when we do, that’s when it’s handy to have three veterinarians as owners!

charlie bottle
So… what are you having for dinner tonight? Our girls are getting an all-they-can-eat hay buffet with a side of cracked corn!

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