I’m back for another Topic Tuesday and today I’m going to talk about cattle comfort. We’ve had a really mild winter so far, but I’m sure that a few snow storms are right around the corner. Our cattle all live outside (not in a barn). All of our momma cows are pregnant right now and are out on corn stalks. Since there hasn’t been much snow on the ground, they have been eating the corn and corn stalks leftover from harvest. Kevin also hays them but they have been happy just eating the corn stalks for the most part.
We have had four momma cows have their calves already. The rest of the calves should arrive around the middle of March. We will move them all home so they can be close to the house and barn before this happens. That way it will be easier for Kevin to check the cows at all hours of the day and if he would need to use the barn they will be nice and close in order to get them inside.
Our heifers and steers that were born last year are in separate pens back behind our house by the barn. Our bulls are also back there in two separate pens. Daily chores consist of feeding them all buckets of grain twice a day and making sure they have plenty of hay to eat. They also free choice mineral and protein lick tubs to help manage the minerals and micro-nutrients in their diets.
You can see in the picture below there are panels that we had put up last winter to help block the north and west winds. Right now our tree wind break is pretty short since we replaced it a few years ago, so by putting up these panels, it helps block some of the cold winter winds. The heifers also have a cement shed that they can go into and if we need to we can open the barn for the steers to get into if it’s too cold out. Kevin also gives them corn stalk bales if it is wet out for them to have a dry place to lay and also to help protect them from the wind. The cows grow a thick coat of fur during the winter months that keep them warm and they don’t actually mind the cold as long as they have some sort of wind break to protect them.
So right now it’s pretty easy going as far as the cattle go on our farm. But in less than two months we will have a lot of new calves on the ground! Stay tuned for updates!