Friday, February 16, 2018

Feeding cows.

Happy Friday!

Today I thought I'd post a few pictures of how we feed the cows at home.  I took these last week in the late afternoon after Chandler had a doctor's appointment (he was wheezing a lot) so we were all home a little earlier than normal and had time to help Clint.

Usually during the week Clint feeds by himself, or if he's gone then we either pre-load the feeders (most common) or I take leave at lunch and run home to feed (less common).  We try to feed alfalfa every other day, and then the cows have access to free choice grass hay every day.  On the weekends, we all feed as a family, fill grass hay feeders, etc. since Chandler loves being outside and driving the "tractor" (our skidsteer).

Clint pre-bought the alfalfa from a neighbor who stores it tarped at his farm, and then Clint hauls a flatbed load in when needed.  We keep it in the shop (our shop is half concrete, and half gravel flooring) with the skidsteer so they're both out of the weather, and then the grass hay is tarped outside.  We also feed the Charolais cows grain hay mixed with grassy hay in the feeders since they're calving and can use a little more energy.


Chandler doesn't quite have opening the bay door down 100%, but he likes to try.

 If the weather is nice, Cal usually goes in a stroller which I think he prefers because he can see better and is "free".  If it's cold, I put him forward facing in my Ergo front pack and wrap a blanket around him so that my body heat and the blanket can keep him warm.  This day was gorgeous (!!!) so a sweatshirt was all we needed.



We cut strings on a bale of alfalfa, with the skidsteer's tines under the bale and force pressing the bale against another bale so it doesn't "explode".  Then Clint gently lifts with the skidsteer to pull away 1/3 of the bale of alfalfa before Clint & Chandler take it to the field.  Cal and I followed in the stroller and helped open gates.  Once we got out into the field, Chandler wanted out so he could help me flake.  We just go along, and flake one flake at a time spaced out enough so that the cows can walk around the flake without stepping (or pooping) on another flake.  We flake in a different spot every time so that we don't create a strip of waste that grass can't grow thru this spring.


Blurry, but Cal is so cute that I'm including it.  :)

So that's how we feed cows as a family.  It takes more time (and patience) but we're not a big scale operation, and because having cows is not our main source of income, we make sure that we're doing this so that we can spend time together as a family.  It's not worth if it we're aren't.  :)

Hope you all have a great weekend! 

We're looking forward to Grandma Pat coming over tonight, and a long 3 day weekend.

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