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When Cows are too good at their job....

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Oct 24, 2020 | 06:11 31 Based on my observations over the years, I actually think that it is an appetite/needs thing.

I recall commenting that to my wife one fine spring day - after watching them turned out for the first time onto pasture. One cow was munching along happily on grass when she deliberately reached out of her way to chow down on a big, healthy dandelion.

There's an education to be had in watching cows' grazing patterns. We all know that they have their preferred species of forage. I have seen them clean off the dandelions to the nubbins when there is soft grass right next to the "weed".

In another observation just this summer, I sat and watched the cows and bull graze over a very small patch of regrowth connecting 2 paddocks - maybe 30' wide and about 50' long - which had grown grass and a variety of fairly mature weeds, like lambsquarter and ragweed.

Some of the cows nosed right past some of those weeds after quite noticably taking a sniff at them, while others reached right for them.

What was particularly amusing was to watch the bull ambling slowly thru the stretch after the cows, cleaning off everything they left behind! Reply With Quote
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  • Blaithin's Avatar Oct 24, 2020 | 19:47 32 Cows don’t care about weeds. Weeds are a people thing. And generally they’re a weed because of our poor management.

    Most cows will eat a little of everything. It’s when there’s too much of one thing, like thistle or sweet clover or pig weed, that it’ll start to seem like they never touch them. Can’t blame them for not wanting their entire meal to be those plants. Plus each animal will have their individual tastes. Stella refuses to eat soaked beet pellets, or even wet grain, despite being an absolute hog for just about any food. I can safely leave her in with another cow getting crunchies as long as those crunchies include soaked beet pellets. Leave the beet pellets dry and she’ll hoover up all the crunchies before the other cow has swallowed one bite. Moose is an apple fiend. She will reach as high as possible to eat every apple she can with a fully extended tongue. Nobody else is that keen on them.

    Coincidentally if Moose isn’t around to teach others about yummy apples, nobody ever really seems to eat them straight off the tree. They’re windfall grazers only.

    They do learn a lot from one another and then have their preferences based on what they’ve learnt. Reply With Quote
    Blaithin's Avatar Oct 31, 2020 | 11:41 33 Sold four of the calves to my regular guy today. He picked the two big fatties and two younger heifers. I really enjoy being able to sell them this way. Auctions are NOT my thing.

    Now to post the rest on Kijiji and see who wants to be a homesteader this year 😂

    With prices being a bit low maybe I’ll have more bites than normal. Or more likely people will want to pay even less than the less currently on tap. Reply With Quote
    Nov 7, 2020 | 05:39 34 How did the big fatties weigh up?

    Any bites on the rest of them?

    Our one son usually buys 3 or so from us to raise for his freezer orders. I might try selling the rest privately too this year. We are down to a handful of cows now, and it makes selling smaller packages less worthwhile than the days when we had a ring full at a time. Reply With Quote
    Blaithin's Avatar Nov 7, 2020 | 20:51 35 Don’t weigh any of them. Just eyeball and give him a number. Could be leaving money on the table, could be taking extra. Try and offset it a bit by staying on the high end of the market. He’s never complained!

    Haven’t got the rest posted yet. Took some photos yesterday but nothing that was really pleasing. Maybe go out tomorrow if it’s not still a gale outside. Snow might make them pop a bit more than the brown.

    Saves me driving them places when people come and pick them up! And I have a kind of rule that I don’t like putting them on a trailer unless there’s a pasture on the other end. No stressful ride, auction ring, another trailer, god knows where....

    Here’s a photo of the four the day he took them. The two big greys are heifers he bought last year.


    All six in the photo were raised on my nurse cows. None were single raised calves.
    Last edited by Blaithin; Nov 7, 2020 at 21:08.
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    Nov 8, 2020 | 07:59 36 Good looking calves! And their condition shows that the mommas were milkers!

    That a great idea for achieving super-efficiency on numbers where that is a feasible management strategy.

    Something for our one son to consider as he looks to maximize productivity on his smaller acreage. Reply With Quote
    Blaithin's Avatar Nov 8, 2020 | 10:23 37 Depending how much management and time wants to be invested it can be pushed farther. I’ve had cows raise 3 and 4 calves at once however it’s a big pull on their condition and can result in slower breed back.

    If someone really wanted to get as much as they could they’d milk the cows and bottle feed the calves. In that way you can easily add another couple calves on each cow, and help protect udder and cows condition. Downside is you have to milk the cow lol. However in this scenario, and if you know date bred, you can easily raise 2-3 batches of calves on each cow, per lactation, if she’s calving yearly. 10 month lactation, weaning calves at 3-5 months, 3-6 calves each cow depending on production, you could raise a dozen calves on the right cow. Again, only issue here is being tied to milking and feeding.

    As my nurse cow numbers are getting up Im starting to run into the issue of calves sharing cows. Even one of the cows own calves was hopping moms this year which is a first. I may need to look into a creep feeder to help consistently offer them more. They usually only get creep when they’re here, not out in pasture.

    Also the focus on cow nutrition is different than just a beef cow and her calf. The Flecks hold condition really well on grass considering what they’re doing but next year I think I’m going to invest in always having a protein tub out for them, or maybe molasses. Protein will make them produce more but I want them to keep condition so the molasses may be a better option.

    Either way, whatever method someone chooses to go with, I think this is a great option for increased production on an acreage. I always said why have 6 cows for 6 calves when I can have 2 cows for 6 calves. Reply With Quote
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  • Blaithin's Avatar Nov 10, 2020 | 11:39 38 Got all their photos taken yesterday. They were fairly cooperative. 3 of the 5 are all singles, 2 shared udders with others. #2 is a half brother to the black bull I kept back. His brother got better genetic pickings I think 😂

    Steers


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    Blaithin's Avatar Nov 10, 2020 | 11:40 39 Heifers

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  • Nov 12, 2020 | 19:29 40
    Quote Originally Posted by Blaithin View Post
    Heifers

    #5 would make a nice replacement............. only if she wasn’t so “horny” 😉

    Quite a nice bunch for sharing their mommas. Reply With Quote
    Blaithin's Avatar Nov 15, 2020 | 19:14 41
    Quote Originally Posted by woodland View Post
    #5 would make a nice replacement............. only if she wasn’t so “horny” 😉

    Quite a nice bunch for sharing their mommas.
    Horns are easy to deal with!

    She’s nice but her family line is full of *******. Might be her eyebrows but I’ve always gotten the impression she’s got that deep in her personality and it’s going to make an appearance.

    This is her full sister we kept back from last year. She’s never been a problem.
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    Blaithin's Avatar Nov 16, 2020 | 09:45 42 This morning it began. One animal was out. Just one. Came to the house, dog started barking, calf started mooing. “Help I’m thirsty and I escaped which seemed like a good thing to do at the time but now I’m alone and hellllppp”


    Eventually she’ll be like her mom and just know to follow me to the gate. Annoying beasts. Reply With Quote
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  • Blaithin's Avatar Nov 26, 2020 | 12:56 43 So every year I put together a calendar of photos I've taken around the acreage of my animals. It's kind of my catch all Christmas gift. Can give them to anyone! Mostly just gets me out with my camera and gives me a way to share my photos instead of just sit on them all to myself.

    Currently I'm working on the 2021 version. I usually procrastinate it and end up trying to jam it all together the last minute. This year is very cow focused. Apparently I need to get my camera out with the chickens more often!

    Here's a couple photos that are going to make an appearance this year.
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    Last edited by Blaithin; Nov 26, 2020 at 12:59.
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  • Nov 27, 2020 | 17:33 44
    Quote Originally Posted by Blaithin View Post
    So every year I put together a calendar of photos I've taken around the acreage of my animals. It's kind of my catch all Christmas gift. Can give them to anyone! Mostly just gets me out with my camera and gives me a way to share my photos instead of just sit on them all to myself.

    Currently I'm working on the 2021 version. I usually procrastinate it and end up trying to jam it all together the last minute. This year is very cow focused. Apparently I need to get my camera out with the chickens more often!

    Here's a couple photos that are going to make an appearance this year.
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    Name:  Mango.jpg
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    We make a calendar as well and hand it out to business associates and family instead of Christmas cards. Just got it back from the printer yesterday. Having a camera in the phone is the handiest thing ever.
    Cattle are amazing creatures. Can’t have too many pictures of them. Reply With Quote
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  • Blaithin's Avatar Nov 27, 2020 | 17:45 45 That’s awesome that you do a calendar as well.

    I try not to use the photos I take on my phone. Camera is just better quality and gives me more editing control. But sometimes the right place at the right time only has the phone handy and not the camera.

    PhotoShop has upped my calendar game quite a bit. Reply With Quote
    Nov 28, 2020 | 06:51 46
    Quote Originally Posted by Blaithin View Post
    That’s awesome that you do a calendar as well.

    I try not to use the photos I take on my phone. Camera is just better quality and gives me more editing control. But sometimes the right place at the right time only has the phone handy and not the camera.

    PhotoShop has upped my calendar game quite a bit.
    Some cheating okay ... situational ethics!?! Reply With Quote
    Blaithin's Avatar Nov 28, 2020 | 10:00 47
    Quote Originally Posted by burnt View Post
    Some cheating okay ... situational ethics!?!
    Hah yes, that’s it.

    Or content vs quality.

    Phone can take good photos but it rarely lets me have the level of editing that a camera photo does. Reply With Quote
    Blaithin's Avatar Nov 29, 2020 | 11:33 48 Here's an example of what the editing can do. Mediocre, unattractive, nothing to write home about photo.

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    To this.

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    And I really don't know the possibilities of editing. I stick to a handful of things. For example, I couldn't manage to edit the thistles out Lol Reply With Quote
    Nov 29, 2020 | 23:06 49
    Quote Originally Posted by Blaithin View Post
    Here's an example of what the editing can do. Mediocre, unattractive, nothing to write home about photo.

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    To this.

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    And I really don't know the possibilities of editing. I stick to a handful of things. For example, I couldn't manage to edit the thistles out Lol
    Ummm is that false advertising? I see you took the leaning fence posts and saggy wire out but he could have used some horn augmentation and a splash of white to brighten his face and brisket. Maybe even a new Allflex for his ear and a shiny nose ring too. I mean if this is for his Tinder profile ya better go all out. Gotta lure the girls in somehow 😎

    I prefer au naturel with our pics. 😉 Reply With Quote
    Blaithin's Avatar Nov 30, 2020 | 09:52 50 He’s a Hereford. Nothing can help him. Reply With Quote
    Dec 11, 2020 | 09:25 51
    Quote Originally Posted by woodland View Post
    Ummm is that false advertising? I see you took the leaning fence posts and saggy wire out but he could have used some horn augmentation and a splash of white to brighten his face and brisket. Maybe even a new Allflex for his ear and a shiny nose ring too. I mean if this is for his Tinder profile ya better go all out. Gotta lure the girls in somehow 😎

    I prefer au naturel with our pics. 😉
    The first photo seems to me more brutal, although good advertising requires "advertising photos" so that they are juicy and bright. And here you can't do without processing. Just like catching the perfect light, no matter what camera you use, you will need retouching. Reply With Quote
    Blaithin's Avatar Dec 11, 2020 | 10:07 52 Cameras can’t see like eyes can so a photo will always require some tweaking just to get it close to what it really looked like. Also if your rental pasture has crappy sheep fence everywhere it helps remove it 😂

    I’d rather do some post processing on sharpening and colour than brush an animal out and sculpt it’s hair to give it form and make it stand goofy to try and make it look better. Sales photos are like the 90s mullet pose.

    I also edited out a very shitty ass on the one cow. Not everyone needs to know she’s hygenically challenged. Reply With Quote
    Dec 14, 2020 | 10:04 53
    Quote Originally Posted by Blaithin View Post
    Cameras can’t see like eyes can so a photo will always require some tweaking just to get it close to what it really looked like. Also if your rental pasture has crappy sheep fence everywhere it helps remove it 😂

    I’d rather do some post processing on sharpening and colour than brush an animal out and sculpt it’s hair to give it form and make it stand goofy to try and make it look better. Sales photos are like the 90s mullet pose.

    I also edited out a very shitty ass on the one cow. Not everyone needs to know she’s hygenically challenged.
    Severe color distortion is often caused by a poor quality camera. Bad matrix or lenses - that's a distorted image. Although you're right, even the most natural color scheme sometimes needs correction. Especially if the cow is a bit shitty
    Last edited by Challenger007; Dec 14, 2020 at 10:20.
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    Blaithin's Avatar Dec 15, 2020 | 19:58 54 Had a surprise calf today, from my pet cow that's not supposed to be able to have calves... Was speaking to the vet about her yesterday as I expected it to be another C section. Instead she had it on the trailer on the way to the vet.

    Oh well.

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  • Dec 16, 2020 | 03:40 55
    Quote Originally Posted by Blaithin View Post
    Had a surprise calf today, from my pet cow that's not supposed to be able to have calves... Was speaking to the vet about her yesterday as I expected it to be another C section. Instead she had it on the trailer on the way to the vet.

    Oh well.

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    Congratulations on your addition. The calf is adorable. Why shouldn't a cow have calves? Did she have any health problems or did you have other plans for her? Reply With Quote
    Dec 16, 2020 | 08:48 56
    Quote Originally Posted by Blaithin View Post
    Had a surprise calf today, from my pet cow that's not supposed to be able to have calves... Was speaking to the vet about her yesterday as I expected it to be another C section. Instead she had it on the trailer on the way to the vet.

    Oh well.

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    A pet that pays for it’s own kibble................. the best kind. Is this the first or last calf of calving season?😉 Reply With Quote
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  • Blaithin's Avatar Dec 16, 2020 | 12:47 57
    Quote Originally Posted by Challenger007 View Post
    Congratulations on your addition. The calf is adorable. Why shouldn't a cow have calves? Did she have any health problems or did you have other plans for her?
    Through a round about story with a bull that threw monster calves, she was induced for a c section on her first calf and the vet said her pelvis wasn’t open enough for her to ever have a calf. So I’ve never let her carry to term.

    Of course, in the way of the world, the vet yesterday says her pelvis is fine and she shouldn’t have an issue having a regular sized calf.

    Stella is just my pet. She’s halter broke, you can “ride” her, she’s got a 3 pad collar and will pull the calf sled around. She’s great at helping lead the herd places or sticking her in with weaned calves as a calming influence. Reply With Quote
    Blaithin's Avatar Jan 3, 2021 | 15:51 58 Sometimes trying to sell things online just produces the most enjoyable "WTF" moments.

    Last month I was kindly offered $500 each for my weanlings, cash. Wow, what an offer. Sadly that guy didn't respond to my simple answer of "No" to get a lecture about the current market price of calves this size.

    Last night I was asked what the heifers were crossed with as I just have everyone advertised as "Hereford cross" since the cows are all a mix mash. The one cow is from the feedlot so she's really a guess but she's high percentage of Limo based on her looks so I just say Limo. His reply was "Sorry, I'm looking for larger commercial breeds"....

    Ok yeah, Sims and Chars can be a little bigger than Lims but they're hardly lightweights. And when it comes to saying the calf is half Limo I expect a variety of reasons for not wanting it but never have I thought being too small would be one Lol The cow doesn't break the scale for Limo's but she's easily in the 700kg range.

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    Reminds me of the year I rented a Short Horn bull and was told 'Sorry, I don't want horned calves.'...
    No.... they.... nvm.... Reply With Quote
    Jan 3, 2021 | 23:56 59
    Quote Originally Posted by Blaithin View Post
    Sometimes trying to sell things online just produces the most enjoyable "WTF" moments.

    Last month I was kindly offered $500 each for my weanlings, cash. Wow, what an offer. Sadly that guy didn't respond to my simple answer of "No" to get a lecture about the current market price of calves this size.

    Last night I was asked what the heifers were crossed with as I just have everyone advertised as "Hereford cross" since the cows are all a mix mash. The one cow is from the feedlot so she's really a guess but she's high percentage of Limo based on her looks so I just say Limo. His reply was "Sorry, I'm looking for larger commercial breeds"....

    Ok yeah, Sims and Chars can be a little bigger than Lims but they're hardly lightweights. And when it comes to saying the calf is half Limo I expect a variety of reasons for not wanting it but never have I thought being too small would be one Lol The cow doesn't break the scale for Limo's but she's easily in the 700kg range.

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    Reminds me of the year I rented a Short Horn bull and was told 'Sorry, I don't want horned calves.'...
    No.... they.... nvm....
    Well a longhorn generally has “long horns” so I guess it only makes sense what a shorthorn should have...............😉

    Although your limo cross should maybe be called a medium horn? Possibly........

    Just buggin ya

    I despise horns. One perk of our good ole Angus critters. Reply With Quote
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  • Blaithin's Avatar Jan 4, 2021 | 12:27 60 I don’t mind horns. Although it would be nicer if the whole herd was horned, some of the polled girls are at a bit of a disadvantage.

    That said, Stella is the herd matriarch despite being polled and 600lbs lighter than the Limo. She’s a year older and they grew up together and Stella just refuses to not be boss. Even if she loses a fight, in her mind she still wins. Very rarely is there even a fight. Odd how herd hierarchy can work. There’s no question, even though the two of them spend the entire winter not with the dairy girls, that they are the bosses.

    I’ve read some papers on the balance horns give the animals (maybe it was biodynamic but for some reason I’m thinking no?). Kind of like reiki in people, if you dehorn an animal it upsets their chakras. It’s been a while but I think it was regarding milk production and how animals that kept their horns were more productive than their de horned counterparts? Something along those lines. Irrelevant in regards to polled breeds since they haven’t lost anything they had to begin with, but an interesting concept none the less. We know horns play a role in heating and cooling in large horned breeds, what else could they be doing. Lots of times I’ve heard the analogy of being dehorned like losing a finger. Well if I lost a finger I’d be a bit out of whack. I’ll see if I can find what I read again. Maybe it’s lost it’s shine over the years and sounds better in my memory! Reply With Quote