Sunday, 4 September 2011

The cows have got a leader

The cows have got a leader, and she watches all the while,

Miss her when she finally goes, to meet her maker's bullet,
End up as tough as old leather boot's, n' fill a of pack of suet.

Well its that time of year again  when the calves have got to be weaned, the shed has been prepare , the troughs along the front have got gates above them to stop the jumpers, the water trough has extra rails to stop them going through, enough bedding thrown down to last a month, a ring feeder positioned where it can be replenished from outside. The cows will shout by their field gate for three days, and the fencing in that area checked, and a lane end gate kept shut as a long stop. Where the cows will be bellowing is at the bottom of the gardens of nine houses, all of whom are "city" types, so to try to keep them sweet I ring the end one up each year, to forewarn them of the impending noise.

The Suckler Cows

The suckler cows they graze all summer, until we wean the calf,
When the calves we take away, cows they bellow not by half,
The calves the same in shed we keep, until they settle in,
Gates are high and fences too, all to stop them from esca-apin.

Three days it lasts, until they feel, the pain of hunger's stronger,
The cows they clear off down the field, and hang about no longer,
Calves have no choice but stay, feed them corn and feed them hay,
One month they need get used to living, in the yard all in a bay.

They all get wormed and gain no weight, till frettin they've forgotten,
Put them out on clean grass, feed supplements, no silage rotten,
There they will grow and gain the weight, they lost plus plenty more,
When at last they do get fat, read the scales its there we can't ignore.

One of last years calves at weaning

Chocky's with her new calf April this year 2011 

This is Chocky a Simmental cross Friesian, leader of the herd, she is no oil painting but always has plenty of milk, you can see her long square face in the picture, how wide her muzzle is, almost as wide as her eyes, and she is the one who has good eyesight and good hearing and always knows what is going on, on her patch.

One thing she cannot resist is a bucket with a bit of corn, and once she starts moving hopefully in the right direction the others tend to follow.

The Cows Have Got a Leader (This descibes old Chocky)

The cows have got a leader, and she watches all the while,
She knows exactly what ya doing, sometimes make you smile,
Only got to touch the gate latch, and up will go her head,
And walk towards the gateway, without a word being said.

Go to count them every morning, and check that they're all okay,
They think they want a new field, and walk off all that way,
Oblige them at your peril, as they mob you round the gate,
The fencing got to be strong, if you've got to make them wait.

If more than one walks in the field, leader walks the other way,
Takes the whole lot with her, she must know its testing day,
Got to walk round whole dam field, head them to the gate,
Seems that they have forgotten, and vet's is here by eight.

Leader walking off right way, the others following her lead,
Off towards the gateway, but they're gathering speed,
All stop short of going through, and start to circle round,
A young one makes a break for freedom, loose the lot confound.

A bucket with a bit of corn, the leaders up for that,
Always first one at the trough, and give her a little pat,
She follows where you walking, out off out down the lane,
Other think they're missing out, and follow once again.

So cherish your old leader, she can save you a lot of time,
Show the young cows where to go, while she's in her prime,
Miss her when she finally goes, to meet her maker's bullet,
End up as tough as old leather boot's, n' fill a of pack of suet.

Owd Fred

Out of all the herds around the world, there cannot be many who have not got a leader, ours is quiet and and come to the call, at the same time if she gets past you into a new field, just by pushing past, she will and the others will follow.  On the other hand we have had some very stubborn leaders and it makes hard work handling the whole herd.

Tell me if you have had the same experience, and what is youir leader like ?

Tongue- a variety of meat, rarely served because it clearly crosses the line between a cut of beef and a piece of dead cow
Bob Ekstrom, Pitt, MN

Weather Blog on my Farm

After one of the driest years since 1976 it looks like the fodder situation is going to be tight, last year quantities of hay and silage were lower than normal, and bearing in mind what my farther always said, “A bay of hay is worth more than money in the bank” we still have almost a bay of hay left from last year.

We have almost 60acres of peat meadows that nearly all of it is mown, some years its too wet and spongy and even if you can mow it and even bale it, the difficulty is hauling it off.

But this dry year has been kind to us on the meadows; the grass (and a few rushes) has grown well and produced around average yield of bales. Our biggest problem is the fishing pools that have been recently established on the meadows down stream, they are the nesting ground now for a few hundred Canadian Geese. In mid June when each pair has hatched eight or ten goslings, they emerge from the area of the pools to graze on my meadows, holding back the growth of grass over up to four acres.

The cows and calves have been taken down on those meadows to graze the aftermath, the only green grass we got, grass on the higher ground has gradually burnt up and now that some rain has come it will still take a long while to recover.

This is a 2008 picture dated  August, this year all the vegitation has been grazed down to the edge of the water

We hear about the Hurricane Irene flooding New York, we hear about heavy rain up the north of England and Scotland, we hear about harvest held up by rain in the South east and south west. But here in the Midlands of UK 30 miles North West of Birmingham the rain has missed us since last February. On the forecast maps on TV the cloud formations seem to part as they come over Wales and head north of us, or just skim south, we see the clouds passing us by.

However today August 27, 2011 we have had a few sharp showers, with more rain falling now will do the pastures good, it will take quite a few nights of continuous steady rain to soften the ground for the moisture to soak in properly.  But that has not happened so far.

Up date to Sep 4th 2011 still no rain, only enough to damp the concrete on the yard, no rain water run down our drains through this spring and summer. I think we must be the driest spot in the UK.

What bit of damp we have had has just stopped the grass from dying off, the cattle have stayed down on the peat ground for over a month now, the only place where we have grass

Father always told us that
 “A bay of hay is worth more than money in the bank”