Thursday, March 5, 2015


I started to title this post "Cows," but that would have been a bit inaccurate.  A cow, of course, is a female bovine that has had a baby.  Or maybe that's not accurate either, given many farmers call female cattle that have had only one calf "first-calf heifers."  So with this said, maybe the title should be "A Cow, Two First-Calf Heifers, Three Heifers, and a Pair of Steers."  Or...  Never mind.  The point is to put a fitting title in place and that has been accomplished, albeit in a non-catchy way.

To date, we've now had 16 different cattle at the farm.  It all began with the Holstein steers we raised back in 2011.  We then got a black Angus cow and her heifer calf two years ago.  In September 2013, the mama cow (the kids named her Flower) had a bull calf, which we gave to family friend Mr. Woodward as a thanks for all he has done for us.  In the spring of last year, we sold Flower to Mr. Woodward, after he had kept her for the winter so she could be bred by his bull.  Flower was a bit too aggressive for my taste and Mr. Woodward really wanted her.  She's since had another baby.

Flower and her bull calf in the fall of 2013.  Just look at her eyes; you can tell she doesn't like me!
We also purchased my friend Melvin's two old cows and their steers in September 2013.  The steers were not weaned and our attempt to wean them resulted in serious damage to our hoop house.  (The steers went THROUGH the hoop house to get to their mamas!)  We decided to sell the steers at market; they weighed 755 and 815 pounds -- way too big to still be nursing!  The cows had been with a bull into the spring of 2013 and we hoped they were pregnant; however, as nine months from the time they had been with the bull came and went, it was obvious the cows were not pregnant.  As we hit December, we decided they were too old to have bred and that it wasn't worth it to feed the large ladies hay throughout the winter.  Off to market the cows went.  They weighed 1,605 and 1,210 pounds.  Big!

Cinnamon and Merry inspect the new arrivals in September 2013 -- two cows and two big steers.
The cows we bought from Melvin were friendly enough -- especially if you had a treat for them.  (In this instance, they were lured in by an alfalfa cube.)

We still have Flower's heifer -- the kids named her Rachael -- who is now nearly two-and-a-half years old.  She's been spending this winter at Mr. Woodward's with his herd, including a bull; as she's been there since September, Rachael should have her first calf in June or July.  (So will Rachael become a cow or a first-calf heifer?)  As we bottle-fed Rachael and have always been very hands-on with her, she has a great disposition and I'm really looking forward to having her home in the next month or so.  Hopefully she hasn't adopted her mama's disposition!

Rachael at Mr. Woodward's farm in December.  She should have been about three months pregnant when this photo was taken.

We also purchased six black Angus cattle this past December from a farm in a neighboring county: a three- or four-year-old cow, two two-year-old cows (or first-calf heifers, or whatever!), a young heifer, and two young steers.  As they all came with numbered ear tags, we just call them by their numbers (instead of giving them proper names).  So, we have #15 (the cow), #14 and #10 (the first-calf heifers), #1 (the young heifer, who is still nursing her mama, #10), and #5 and #6 (the steers).  On January 20, #15, who we were almost certain was pregnant when we bought her, had a heifer calf (the kids named her Cedar, as she was born under a cedar tree).  So, we now have seven cattle at the farm, plus Rachael who is just a couple of miles away at Mr. Woodward's.  We're definitely going to sell some of the cattle in the fall and will post more on that later.  For now, we're waiting to see if #14 is pregnant (she looks it), as well as #10.  Yes, we need to wean #1 off of #10, but are waiting for the grass to start growing before doing so.  We just hope the hoop house doesn't once again become a victim!  - Byron

The six cattle we brought home in December settled in right away.  They were with a rather large herd at the farm from which they came, so having more room was, I'm sure, a pleasant change for them.  #15 is furthest to the left.  She's the most friendly of the bunch and will almost definitely be one we still have next year at this time.
#15 with her baby, Cedar, immediately after she was born on December 11.
Cedar at nearly two weeks old.


  1. Well hi there! I had no idea you had been doing so much with the cattle. Very neat.

    1. We like them! Pretty easy to care for. Of course, Byron does most of the work!