Friday, January 31, 2014

Winter time lull

This time of the year is normally not such a busy time.  We feed and water the livestock every day.  We have to make sure the water is thawed out and working.  It has been unusually cold and and windy interspersed with windy and warm.   Last week the temperature got up to 52 degrees here and the snow and ice were melting.  The creek was flooding and it was getting muddy.  By the next evening the wind was blowing 60 MPH and the temperature had dropped to 5 degrees.  With the wind chill it was quite a dramatic drop in temperature.

The creek is flooding because the ice has stopped the water from flowing through the culvert.  As you can see we have lost most of our snow with this last warm spell.  Where the water goes around the creek crossing and has made a waterfall where it goes back in the creek.

With the wind blowing like it has for this last month the weather service has said we are going to set a record for the windiest month on record..  The average wind speed was averaged at around 14.6 MPH.  The previous monthly record was set just last April at around 13.6 MPH.

The sheep bunched up really tight when the wind was blowing soo hard.  I had  to feed in the corral several times last week to keep the wind from blowing all the hay away.

Since Tammy and I are going to be calving heifers this year in the sheep barn we decided we needed a calving pen.  So we got a calving pen and set it up.  Now we have a month to wait for the arrival of the first calf.  Since we had lost a few cows in the storm we needed to keep our numbers up so we are calving way more heifers than usual.  So rather than have Ryan calve all these by himself we decided to do it over here.  He will have is own to calve at his place.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Brought the cows home and number branded the heifers

The last post I did we were still plowing a trail to get to the pasture where the cows winter.  We brought them home here shortly after that.  There was a weather report of coming cold spell again so we just brought them home.  They were just settling in to their new surrounding when the cold spell hit.  They called it the Polar Vortex.  They always seem to come up with new names for these things.  We were colder in early December, but the wind really blew this time so the wind chills were quite sever.

When the weather had warmed up we got the herd in and sorted off the coming first calf heifers.  They will get better feed and it will help to tame them down some being close in the lot.  They will start calving around the 1st of March.

Then we number branded the heifers.

We use a hot iron to number brand the heifers.  Most of the heifers already have a number that is tattooed in the ear.  You have to catch them and restrain the head to read the number in the ear.  So it is much easier to read a brand on the hip.  Ear tags work for a year or two but either fall out or get caught on something and get torn out, so this works good.

Also the first number in the sequence is the last digit of the year.  this way we know what year the animal was born that way.  So when they get to be 10 or 12 years old we will know that they are getting old.  We keep a lot of our cows till they are 12 to 14 years old.

The sheep are no longer in the breeding season.  They are now in a time of being dry and just pregnant, so they do not need quite so much feed.  We have quit feeding them their grain cubes every day and just feed hay.

We use a bale processor that grinds the hay off of the bale and puts the hay in a nice windrow for the sheep and cattle to eat.   The grinding process knocks off any dirt or mold that may be on the hay and fluffs up the hay so even old coarse hay will look appealing.