Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I went looking for the goats this evening so I could feed the dogs. You may think that this sounds like a simple chore but you would be wrong. 40 goats and two 100 pound dogs can be very difficult to find on 300 acres. The terrain is very diverse and there are lots of hollows for them to be in.
I did venture to a section of the farm I don't get to see very often.
I really like this section of the creek where it makes a 90 degree turn down a steep bluff.
I did manage to find some wild flowers blooming. (blood root).
I also found a canteen. The only problem was I didn't find the goats until I got back to the house. After a 45 minute 3 mile hike I saw them coming over the hill from the opposite direction. I think instead of a 4-Wheeler I might like a helicopter.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Calf Catcher

J got a calf catcher for Christmas a couple of years ago and now says he can't live without it.
It consists of a hook on the end of an extension pole. First he has to spy the calf he wants.
Then he snags the rear leg.
The calf then lets out a loud bellow
and all of the mama cows in the vicinity come running to check out the cry for help.
The free calves take off with their moms and J reels in his catch.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Change of Pace

I was told some readers needed a change of pace after Friday's post.
Other than the crocuses and the daffodils there is not much else blooming. The hyacinths are coming up but not in full bloom yet.
Back to the cattle tomorrow.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Today was shuffle day. The goal was to keep back the cows with calves and let through the cows yet to calve.
J did all of the work. My job as usual was to "hide". I mostly just stay out of the way because J thinks I scare the cattle. You know animals are always afraid of the vet.
J had a lot of pressure on him with the cows wanting through the gate, but he did an excellent job keeping things under control.
The cows made their way back through the horse field to the next calving field. Emma was there helping as always.

Friday, March 26, 2010

All Guts No Glory


We had our first cow c-section today. J and I are usually able to take care of most calving problems. We have only called in help a couple of times. Today was something totally different. I was on my way out to a Career Day at a local high school when J came in and said he had a cow up that was calving and only one leg was out. I said I had 15 minutes but ended up spending about 45 trying to sort out the problem. Instead of 1 leg coming out it was 3 and an upside down head. Usually when more than 2 legs are coming out it means twins so you find 2 legs that match and pull. This technique didn't work. Shifting things around and pulling different combinations didn't work either. I had to leave so J called a large animal vet. I actually got back home from the career day before Dr. T came.
After much struggling and pulling different combinations of legs and head we decided on a c-section.
He sedated her for this procedure.
It is quite a messy business.
This is what came out.
It is called a Schistosomus Reflexus. The ventral body wall didn't join so the back muscles contract pulling the fetus in a very tight back bend with all of the internal organs exposed. The limbs are also deformed and the joints mostly fused. I have pulled a lot of calves but this is the first one of these that I have seen. I hope it is the last.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Calves and flowers

The calves are really popping out now. We are having 3-4 every day. They are mostly black but we are having several red from a angus/red angus bull. We are also getting a few black baldies out of our hereford bull.
It's funny how the calves all like to stay together, kind of like a nursery. J tags the heifers in the right ear and the steers in the left. It makes it easier to sort them that way.
Daffodils are blooming now. Very pretty even in the dusting of snow this morning.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


We have been blessed this year with an abundance of water. In fact it is raining now.
Our springs are running so strong they look like fountains.
This is a vast improvement over December 2008 when we were having to haul in water. I guess we should keep reminding ourselves of this and quit complaining about the mud.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


V's 4-H/FFA livestock group came to the farm today to practice judging on our 4 show steers. There are not too many opportunities around here to judge 4 halter broke finished steers and to be able to handle them to determine fat cover.
The steers behaved well. It should be good for them to get use to being handled before the show. By the way, V had a stockman's contest last weekend. She placed 10th overall (the only one on the team to place in the top 10) and the team was 4th high. She thinks there were about 17 teams and 70 individuals.
16k seems to be doing better so we turned her back out yesterday. We all enjoyed the beautiful day today, sunny, blue sky, temps in the 70's.

Friday, March 19, 2010


We had several firsts for the year today.
These crocuses are the first flowers of the season blooming in the yard.
The farrier came today (was suppose to come last Friday but he had overbooked), so with new shoes V rode Jessica for the first time this year. The weather was beautiful and the ground was finally dry enough to be safe.
This isn't the first calf but the first one that I have had to give an epidural to in order to pull. She is a first calf heifer and J got her up after she wasn't making any progress calving after 2 hours. He checked her and only the head was coming, both front legs were back. Without the epidural she was straining too much to push the calf back and get the legs out. J didn't have any trouble pulling it after the epidural.
That calf did fine and was up and nursing in short order.
We also had our first set of twins today. Both live and being accepted by the cow.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Moving To Cleaner Pasture

J started the "Sand-hills Shuffle" today. The cows are getting ready to start calving so we moved them to a new field.
They are use to rotating and usually come when J calls. Of course the tractor with the round bale was also good inticement.
They followed the tractor through the horse field,
streamed through the gate,
and took off to the new pasture. They will stay here for about 10 days, then J will move the cows that haven't calved to a new field. That way the newborn calves aren't exposed to the older ones. This is suppose to cut down on the spread of scours. The research was done in Nebraska, thus the name Sand-hills Shuffle. Most people around here do the opposite, moving out the cows with calves to a different field and leaving all the cows to calve in the same place. We have done this new way for a few years and so far have had good success. Three cows calved this afternoon after the move.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Yard Ornament

I had a find at the Thrift store the other day.
I am not sure what it is or what its original purpose was.
I already had this bowling ball in the yard.
I thought they combined to make an interesting yard ornament. I may replace the bowling ball with a gazing ball or I might do some sort of craft project with the bowling ball like covering it with marbles.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


16K hasn't been acting quite right since she calved. She is laying around a lot, not eating much, and doesn't seem to have much milk. I'm afraid she might have Hardware Disease. This is where a small piece of metal that the cow has accidentally eaten in the past and is still in the rumen , gets forced forward due to the pressure of calving. The severity depends on what organ may have been penetrated.
We have put her in a lot so we can feed her separately and watch her closely. I gave her a magnet today hoping that if it is hardware, the magnet will either pull it back or keep it from migrating more. I guess we will have to wait and see.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Amazing Dogs

It is really unbelievable how these two puppies behave. Remember, they are only 7 months old. The goats have been grazing down in the bottom for the last two days and Bumble and Bea have stayed with them to the point of not even coming to the house to eat. J went out to find them and found a sick goat that wasn't with the herd. Amazingly, Bea had stayed with the sick goat while Bumble went with the rest of the herd. They were separated by 3/4 of a mile a hay field and two hollows.
Emma helped me lure Bea away from the goat and back to the herd.
Bea however was limping. She had a cockle burr between her toes that had rubbed a raw spot.
She was very good and let me remove it. It would be nice to shave it, soak it and put neosporin on it, but I think that is probably not going to happen. I will keep an eye on it.

Friday, March 12, 2010


E's show heifer from last year 16K had her calf today. Because she is tame I didn't think it would bother her to get close enough to take pictures.

This is our 5th Hereford bull in the last 10 days. We are needing heifers for the girls to show.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Beautiful Day

We had a much needed beautiful day after 3 months of cold and snow. Temperatures were actually in the 60's today. The sunshine and light breeze helped to dry up some of the mud. Unfortunately, the forecast is for rain for the next 7 days.
I did take the opportunity to do some work outside. It was time to prune the red twig dogwood. This is one of my favorite winter plants. The red shows up so well against the snow (when it's not totally buried.)
I also pruned back the butterfly bushes and threw them over the fence for the goats. It is always one of the first things they eat if they get in the yard.
I thought about pruning the pear trees but the task was too overwhelming. It takes hundreds of decisions, what to leave, what to take, how short or long. They will have to wait for another day.
I have been catching the horses and grooming them. The ring is still to frozen and slick to ride in safely and Thumper has lost a shoe. The farrier comes Friday to get everyone in shape again.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Suture Removal

The surgery discharge form says return in 10-14 days to have the sutures removed. Nothing really bad happens if you wait longer. However, the hair does re-grow making the sutures harder to get to. It's been over a month since their surgeries so I thought I might go ahead and take the sutures out now.
J's dog holding technique looks suspiciously like his calf holding technique.
While I was taking Bea's stitches out, Bumble stole my glove and took off.
She didn't do any damage to it but it did get a little wet.
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