Other stuff about the farm and your's truly!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

He POOPED! (why I love livestock).

Sorry, but it's a good thing!  The calf finally pooped at 4 days old.  A nice healthy colored one... good texture also... Too much information for you?  Whoops, sorry, it just how us farmers roll!  Doesn't take much to excite us and make us happy.

He is now getting right up in the stall when he sees us coming with the bottle and then gives that little "moo".  Such a happy sound to hear.  I am hoping that he is gonna stay healthy.  Actually, best way to get a calf in my book.  Almost straight from delivery to us, no stress because of only a 30 minute trip from pasture to new warm stall, with warm colostrum supplement (the only thing I'd have done different is have real colostrum for him). 

Lyndsey hasn't named him yet, so I keep calling him "cow boy" (get it, he's a cow and a boy?) Sorry, little lame.   She keeps saying Don't get him used to that name", and I keep saying "He's 4 days old, name him!"

I love having animals, and livestock are an amazing part of my life.  I can't explain how good it feels, but most of you probably understand.  Yes, the whole saving a baby calf to later butcher it seems odd, but our livestock have pretty good lives and I believe we are raising them for a natural reason, in ways as close to "nature and real life" as possible.

We only have 5 acres, which we are working on fencing, but the reality is, it won't be pasture-like.  We will have to supplement the sheep with hay, so the two calves (Nemo, the 3 month old and this little black guy), when they are fully weaned from milk and/or hay and grain, will go about 15 miles drive-wise and 5 miles as the crow flies, across the beautiful Rogue River, where they will spend a year and a half or so on 30 some odd acres, filled with lots of natural grasses, pine, fir and myrtlewood groves for shelter, whitetail deer for company and a husband/wife who are good friends of ours who will look out for them.  Then, the meat will be shared equally between us (1 steer apiece).  The couple also split the cost of the calf and milk replacer, if we need it.  They appreciate the work we put into the bottle-raising part of the calf, and it's cheaper to raise them that way than buy a weaned calf.
We also raise sheep... they are my daughter Lyndsey's 4-H flock, but I take a large part in it.  Lyndsey had raised market lambs for a few years, getting them in March and selling them in July.  Then, prices started going up for good lambs.  We started talking about raising our own to help Lyndsey out.  An outgoing 4-H'er donated a older Suffolk ewe (who's given us twins the last 3 years) the same year that a woman bought Lyndsey's ewe market lamb and donated her back to Lyndsey.  Now we have 4 good breeding ewes.  After a breeding "disaster" (we took the ewes out to be bred at a local farm and they took the ram out of the pasture for 3 weeks without telling us until we picked up the ewes, so births were not on schedule), we decided to buy our own ram.  That way we have control over it.  Mojo came to live with us last year and he's a great young ram.  Along with our 4 ewes, we had 5 other 4-H family ewes in the field with him and last I heard, they were all pregnant.  I have never eaten lamb.  Silly, huh?  I'm going to try it this year, but I honestly don't think I can try one of ours yet.  Gonna swap with someone, which sounds silly, I know.  But the lambs will be here on the farm from delivery to the end and it will be hard for me to dissassociate with them.
I have no problems dissassociating with the pigs we raise.  We get two of them in March, one for us and one for Lyndsey's 4-H project, in March at about 6 weeks old and send ours to the butcher with the 4-H auction hogs in July.  They are cute, but not that friendly, and they get friendly, but bigger and more annoying at the end.  Bacon, ham, pork chops, yum!  I have no desire to breed pigs here.  None whatsover.
Our animals have shelter (even if they don't use it, I feel better knowing that they have the option), fresh water, good food and hugs, kisses and affection.  They have pens that are at least the minimum size needed, usually bigger, and places where they can get out of the mud (this is the Oregon coast-it rains).  I feel happy when they feel good and worry when they don't.  I get up in the middle of the night to shine a flashlight at a pregnant ewe (who usually get irritated at me) or check on the storm conditions to see if someone  needs moved.  Friends and co-workers think I'm strange, but I love it.  I like being responsible for them. 
It's important to me!

1 comment:

  1. I wish all people who raised animals were just like you!