Friday was cow day. We had a few things that had to get done before our vacation and shearing the alpaca and sorting the cows were the last two things. We had just discovered a new calf a few days before sorting. Now mind you the calf was not three days old, more like 2-4 weeks old. The cows have an amazing ability to hide the babies after they are born. Mr. President’s older brother came out to help us sort cows and get the lowdown on house sitting for us while we are gone.
We ran them into the corral and then sorted them in the chute. Everyone got an initial dose of fly powder and I will fill the fly bag before we leave. We had to tag the baby, a little girl and our number ten heifer! We only want to run ten heifers and our bull. From now on we will be getting rid of all the calves. The screwy part is that means we will have to run two herds and about 20-30 cows total at any one point due to the age difference and one calf being born every 12 months. To tell which cows we are getting rid of we will be tagging the keepers in the left ear and all the cull cows in the right ear. We just have to have a plan. We have one eating calf in the pipeline for next year but he will be ours. He was the undescended testicle man, a little bull. We ate the last little bull and he was very tasty. So any calves born this year will be for sale in 6 months if you want to finish them off or 18 months after birth if you want to eat them.
The corral system worked like a dream again. It can be done with two people but three is ideal. It lets everyone manipulate a gate or two and the animals get moved faster. We have a total of 13 cows now.
Our necklace system did not survive the winter. The plastic necklaces and tags hung low enough that the cows kept catching them on the feeders and tearing them off. We opted to shorten the necklaces and remove the tags. We only really need to know the identities of our original three cows. They are the ones we can keep new heifers from for our herd management. I used a bent wire to reach under their heads in the chute. This prevented a random horn from impaling me. This was AnnMarie’s idea. In typical guy fashion I was just going to play “who can move faster” with the horned cows. This is not exactly a wise decision, especially with our one crazy cow. You can also tell the original three by their horns. They have a narrow span and very forward pointing horns.
Phil is going to work on watering the orchard, ram pasture and our yard. His big project is going to be to build rock metal cages for the horse area. This will let us create a drainage field and level out the horse area. It will also prevent horse poop from rolling down the hill. We worked on the first cage so Phil knew what to do and he only has to build four more. I am loving the idea of this project being completed while we are gone.