Life on a family dairy farm
in the wilds of
Upstate New York
Thursday, October 18, 2012
It's a pretty time of year, although lately it seems as if we don't get to stand still to look at it much. Alan, the boss, and I spent quite a time getting the stables all spiffy yesterday and moving heifers. A big one named Boondock was bullying in her pen, driving the other heifers back from the feed and getting fat while they languished in the corners. They were all the same size at birth, but her mother was a huge cow and looks as if she is going to follow in mama's hoof prints. She is now outside with four older heifers. She tried it on with them too, but things seem pretty evenly matched and the little ones are very happy to get a turn at the feed. We added a little red shorty out of Bama Breeze, named Cayenne, to the pen in her place. She is of a size with the others and seems to like the freedom to gallop around at will.
The kids decided to name yesterday's new calf, Hermie, for obvious reasons. He/she joins quite an assortment of other calves, some Holstein, some milking shorthorn crosses. Egypt has a big shorty steer, we named Cleopatrick.....couldn't call him Cleopatra after all. The Shortcake half of summer's Strawberry/Shortcake duo is a good sized steer now, all caught up with his age mates and growing well. Strawberry, the tiny red heifer, is quite large now too, and quite a character. She has her own big girl stall next to Lemonade and harasses me mightily when I go in to milk the old lady.
Then there is another big shorty bull, destined for a steer, out of Liz's little Fred heifer, Clare. Clare is named after the Irish county of that name, so he will be called Kilkenny. Since we started using milking shorthorn bulls on our Holstein heifers and sharing our experience, it seems as if a lot of folks are turning in that direction. There is a real demand for the calves, which are a lot like black Angus if fed for beef, only rangier and longer. Holstein heifers can calve them easily as well. We sure don't have any trouble selling them if we decide to. Anyhow, I take the camera to the barn every morning now, just in case something interesting happens and I can steal a minute to record it.