Monday, October 17, 2011

Feeding for the Fall

The fall is always a busy time around the farm. Because we do not make any of our own feed (we buy all of our hay and grain from other farmers) our summers are a bit slower. Once we start to wean the calves off their mothers the work starts to build as we get ready for the winter.

Part of this work involves feeding the animals that we will be showing at Farmfair and Agribition. Each animal gains differently, and some need to be fed more then others. Although there is only 8 animals that we are feeding grain to right now at home, we have them in 5 different pens. Yes this does make a bit more work for everyone, but we need to make sure that they get the care and attention needed.

These two calves we are showing along side their mothers. Because they are not weaned and still milking their mothers, they get a different amount of grain then the other calves who are only eating hay and grain.

These are the 2 calves on the cow/calf pairs we are showing
 This is the bred heifer and red bull calf. Because they are larger animals they to get fed a different amount of grain. They are not getting the added nutrients and energy from milk like the other calves so they need to be supplemented in a different way.

Prom Date & Rival
The other one that is getting fed by herself for a few days is Southern Elle. Usually she gets fed with the other calves, however, she was in heat over the weekend. The heifer calves will begin to cycle this time of the year. They are to young and small to get pregnant yet, and the bulls are getting to the age where there is a chance that their semen could get one of them pregnant. So for a few days she gets to be by herself so that we can make sure she will not get bred by one of the bulls.  
Southern Elle
Not all of the cattle are home from pasture yet, actually very few of them are. The rest of the bull calves are still out at pasture. They have been weaned off their mothers, and are eating grass. The grass is not enough food for them, and so we have a creep feeder out for them so that they will gain more weight. A creep feeder hold grain for the animals and releases it as they eat. The black bars are set at a height so that just the calves can get in and not the bigger animals. Using a creep feeder makes it easier to feed as you are not needing to keep them closer to home and feed them with pails each day.

The bulls will stay out here and eat out of the creep feeder until the water freezes and the snow starts to fall. We will then bring them home and continue to feed them at the farm until the spring when they will go for sale.

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