Preparing the pasture for the horses and cows

fencingThe little bottle-feeder cows we picked up a few months ago are really starting to fill out. We have completely weened them from the bottle and have been eating just hay for about a month now. With that being the case, it’s time to get them out to pasture.

A few weeks back our neighbour had rented a post pounder for a long weekend. He had  mentioned that he’d only need it for a day at the most and if we wanted to do any fencing, we were welcome to use it as part of the same rental. Sweet! The entire fence on the front of our property was in really rough shape (missing posts, most of wire gone) and we also wanted to get some cross fencing done so we can use our land to feed some of our animals.

The horses are really loving all the open space they now have
The horses are really loving all the open space they now have

So I helped my neighbour with his fence  posts and he, along with my father-in-law, helped put in the fence posts for all of the fencing that we had wanted to do. That was a few weeks maybe even a month ago.

Fast forward to last week: time to finish off the fence. Part of the process was simply stringing and stretching the wire and part of it was to install two gates that we were given and were trying to re-use. Gates are expensive and when someone is just throwing them out; it seems a shame to just let them get tossed. I’ve had this sitting our land for about a year, and it’s great to actually have them put to use.

Lately we’ve had a whole lot of rain here (5 inches in just over a week) and that made for some boggy conditions for fencing. With the quad it wasn’t too bad, but with the bobcat, that things was getting stuck like crazy. Especially with the post auger installed. I ended up having to get quite creative with how I installed the first gate. Working alone usually leads to some interesting/hill-billy solutions.

Getting creative with machines, slings and come-alongs. The joys of working alone...
Getting creative with machines, slings and come-alongs. The joys of working alone…

But, after a concentrated effort last week (I was shocked it took the better part of a week) it’s great to have the cows and horses running around and grazing in the newly fenced pasture.

Here’s a little video from our YouTube channel about it. Cheers!

DIY Calf bottle holder

With our 4 calves now needing to be bottle-fed 4 times a day, it was high time to make a bottle holder. They are getting stronger and much more rambunctious during their feeding times. With all their head-butts and jerks on the nipples, it is getting harder and harder to keep the bottle under control and in hand while they slurp away. So, I decided it was time do a little homestead “automation”. Basically, a wooded frame that I cobbled together that will hold the bottles even when the calves are getting a little excited during their feeding. So far it’s working really well and has made feeding these little calves so much easier. I didn’t use any plans but just kind of slapped it together with material I had lying around. We are still getting in with them when they feed (the trust and reliance that they develop with us when they are young will make them much easier to handle when they out-weigh us by X-number of times) but it’s nice not to have to wrestle a bottle every time they need to eat.

Whatever it takes

We have 4 little calves running around on the homestead now, and these are just little guys. Bottle feeders that we picked up from a local feedlot. Originally we started with 5, but 3 days ago we lost one. Kind stinks but I guess that how it goes with these types of situations. Sometimes you can do everything in your power, and it just doesn’t work out.

We are at the same point again with Coby’s little calf, Sadie. She was taking the bottle really well, but has now been weakened by Scours, or diarrhea. We are now having to stomach tube her to make sure she gets her nutrients. Both the milk replacer and an electrolyte solution. It’s a pain, but, sometimes that what’s involved when you want to raise your own meat. I could only imagine what it would be like to have 40 or 50 or more calves at one time.

 

Cows and Computers

After the last two days of technical difficulty, I’ve had enough. I picked up a new computer and, we bought 5 little calves! Yesterday was a super busy day and super exciting! Now with bottle feeding these little guys, we’re going to be even busier for the next while.