Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cows Gotta Eat Too, You Know.

Well, it snowed again a little last night.... dang. Sal says "it makes everything pretty and covers up the ugly of winter." I'll give her that, but it sure adds to the amount of hay consumed by the cows, which equals "Here, let me pay for all that pretty that other folks get for free." Anyway, thought I'd give you a little guided tour of feeding the herd.

This is gonna be just like you were here, only you're all warm and toasty, you're not on Tractor Of Doom, and your nose ain't runnin' from hay dust. So actually, it's nothing like being here, it's more like just reading my blog. Eh well...

Here I am on the Tractor Of Doom, daring to take one hand off the steering wheel while goin' down the road. The Tractor Of Doom needs a real serious exorcism. Going down the road it's got a mind of it's own. Look away for an instant and it's "HELLO GRADER DITCH!". Fixing the wandering steering is actually pretty low on the repair list of the POS.

You probably noticed that the muffler has a pretty serious lean going on there. Well, thank you for noticing. The incident that caused that damage is actually one of the lesser accidents, that one just involved snagging a quite low electric wire down by the barn. Exciting? Yes... but there are others that will curdle your blood even worse. *shivver*

So now I pull into the hay corral, one of several we have around on the farm. Just a penned off area to stockpile the hay. I lower the stinger on the front end loader of the tractor, skewer a bale, pick it up and off to the pasture. Our bales are a fescue/timothy/clover/orchard grass mix... pretty tasty stuff if you're a cow. They'll average about 1400 pounds per bale.

Come on girls!

Next I'll drop the bale off the stinger and back up to it and grab it with an attachment on the 3 point lift of the tractor and take off unrolling it. The cows reaction to this is the human equivalent of finding a suitcase of money... only it happens every day for the cows. At this point in time "I" am their very best friend on earth. How soon they'll forget when they get a chance to trample me and laugh later on in the year.

We unroll the hay, makes it easier for them to eat it and keeps them in a nice clean area in the pasture. The newer balers wrap the hay up so tightly it's real hard on the cows teeth to pull it out of the bale, enough so that they'll pull out their own teeth trying to get it out at times. Unrolling it for 'em eliminates that and gives any calves that are out there, a place to lay instead of on the snow. A cow's mouth is the root to her health, keep 'em smiling with big ol' toothy grins.

So there you go, cow feedin' 101, from the comfort of your puter chair.

A side happening, as I got back from the farm this morning, one of our son's buddies was waiting for him in the driveway in his truck. Gonna go try to pop a coyote or 2 I think. I'd have opened the door and said "Hi" but I really didn't wanna touch that nasty thing. :-)


Vicky said...

Wow, thanks for the tutorial on feeding cows! Was wondering what they ate when it was snowing! Oh, I've got a milking stool if you want to borrow it! LOL Give Ruby a hug for me, will you?

Anonymous said...

When you ride on that tractor, do you hafta sit still and shut up? Or is that just in the truck?


Cowguy said...

Vicky, Ruby's wet and smells funny today... I'm gonna pass on the hug.

Gracie, you've only got part of the concept correct. You can sit in the truck or on the tractor, but the challenge was for YOU to hush up for a period of time. :-) You did very good as I remember. LOL

Mar said...

Wow I feel like a rancher in training! Thanks for the tute! Here I thought they just fed themselves... DUH!