I believe I wrote about a similar subject a while back but decided to write about this again since I took a spill last evening and am now nursing my sore body back to whatever it is to feel normal. We have had such a mild and warm winter and it has been so pleasant, but now, here in Illinois, a cold, and I mean single digit cold, has finally arrived. I miss the warmer temps but I am glad for the freeze, I just hope it stays long enough to kill the bugs and insects so we are not over run by them this summer.
As, I mentioned earlier, I took a spill last evening while trying to get some hay for my goats. I am not sure exactly sure what had happened but it was right after dusk had settled in and the ground was frozen and all of the sudden, I was falling to the ground and hit it hard. I am so lucky the pitchfork landed away from my falling body so I didn’t land on it. It sure seems strange that three days ago we were wading in mud and now the ground is frozen hard as a rock.
The weather can change things so fast and the fact that it is so difficult to walk on frozen ground where cattle have recently trod that I am guessing I either lost my footing and tripped over a frozen pile of, well you know, or I had a spell of vertigo. Whichever it was, it was not fun. So in light of all of this, be careful of the changing weather and the ground surfaces. I always feared ice, but now, well I fear frozen manure, how funny is that.
Have a great day everyone and now that we are getting things better organized, we will be posting more.
Most of us assume that when individuals such as farmers and homemakers work at home; they have a very simple and easy life. Well, that is not the case. Working at home doesn’t mean that challenges and deadlines aren’t a part of their lives just like everyone else. They face them everyday and it could be as simple as being interrupted by excessive phone calls, upset and crying or sick children, nothing going as planned, the overwhelming feeling lack of social contact, and too many projects that need their attention. Working at home can be very economic for some and it works out well, but it can also be frustrating when there are other distractions at home that we do not have to deal with when we work away from home.
On the farm, there is always something to do. Livestock needs to be fed grain and hay on a schedule, morning and evening, a ample supply of water must be available to them at all times, if one is under the weather, so to speak, it needs the necessary attention to get it back to good health so it can return to the herd. Having a vet on speed dial is pretty important when an animal goes down, depending on the illness or injury, it may need immediate attention and professional help. Animals go through stress, as well, when they become sick or injured, so it is imperative that we remain calm while tending to them. The barns and shelters must be kept in good shape and dry for the livestock to have a place they can go out of the weather so hauling manure is a job that must be done on a regular schedule and the fences must be strong enough to turn cattle and horses so that they stay contained within their boundaries. If you have close neighbors, it is not a pleasant experience when you have a few stubborn head of cattle that like to test you and push the fence. People don’t like unwanted animals in their gardens and yards.
When the time comes for breeding your herds, keeping a record of the day the bull or stud went in with the cows or mares, is extremely important. This goes for goats, sheep and other breeds as well. By knowing when you put them together, you will have an idea of when to expect the birthing season to begin and can prepare your barns or make the necessary arrangements for the events to come. Records are also important in keeping track of vaccinations, days bought and sold, births, and injuries and illnesses. I keep track of when I de-worm my goats, when their hooves get trimmed, when I change feed and minerals and etc.
It is a wonderful life, living and working a farm. It has its stresses and challenges on a daily basis but, on the flip side, it can be a peaceful and calming life. Every job has a place for schedules and time management and that includes those jobs at home, it really doesn’t matter what you do, we all have them. Life does feel a little simpler on the farm when out working with Mother Nature and God’ creations but it is LIFE, and with that there is never a dull moment.
What causes a bull or a cow to go blind? It is not always caused by an injury; it can be caused by allergies or particles in the air that irritate and by irritation of flies and insects. If not treated quickly can cause blindness.
I am talking about a form of Pink – eye, an acute contagious conjunctivitis marked by redness of the eyeball. The symptoms are redness and swelling of the eye and some can even get ulcerated spots on their eyes. This actually causes temporary blindness. They will run into fences and walk in circles due to confusion. They can get lost from the herd and if cornered can become dangerous due to lack of sight and fear of the unknown.
This particular form must be treated medically by an antibiotic spray (that you can purchase from you local veterinary) given with an antibiotic injection. We use LA – 300 Antibiotic (also purchased from vet), this is one livestock medicinal item we keep on hand in our medical and farm supplies. Both of these, the spray and the injection, given together will help your animal heal and recover quickly with less risk of total blindness. Most will recover with 100% of their vision restored but, there may be some that will not fully regain their eyesight back at 100%. Depending on how long they had the infection and how severe the infection will determine what damage was caused.
It is most imp0rtant to treat your cattle and livestock as soon as you notice any signs of irritation or redness of the eyes. It does happen to the best of us; we work the farm; planting fields, away from the livestock , maybe at a second j0b and do not notice the changes right away. They, also, do not just creep up overnight either, so to speak, so it is no wonder that it can get away from us, at any given time. We just have to do the best we can and as soon as we notice a problem; we tackle it head on and give it our full attention and care.
There is not one single thing that can prevent this particular infection from occuring in your livestock but as a preventative measure, keep your pastures cut low enough during the growing season so that your livestock are not fighting the tops of the grasses and weeds to feed on the grass available to them. As a preference, we try to keep ours cut no shorter than ankle length when we mow the pastures. This allows the grass to contiunue its growth and kills most of the weeds or, at least, causes them to grow at a slower pace allowing the cattle enough grass to eat during the spring, summer and fall seasons.
It’s official, Spring is here. It is calving season at our farm. It actually started the first of March and we now have 9 little ones on the ground. It seems that it always takes longer when your are anticipating them.
Before the season starts, we make sure our tack and livestock supplies are ready at hand. We never know when we have to saddle a horse and go check the herd. Our cows make a trip to the house every other day or so. It is then when we start to see the little ones up close and get a head count of just how many we have. If any of our cows don’t come up or we haven’t seen them within 5 days, we saddle a horse and ride.
We have to keep our gear in good condition so that we can use it in a moments notice. For our saddles, we use saddle racks to store them when not in use. This helps keep there shape and off the floor. Same as with our ropes and bridles, they have their own assigned place in the tack room for each animal. Keeping the leather soft with oil is a great way to maintain your tack. This is good for you and also for your animal.
Not keeping your tack in good condition could cause problems not only for you financially, due to having to replace them but, also for your horse to keep them from getting sores from gear that just don’t set right on their back or in their mouth.
It is definitly that time of year, mud everywhere. It is a nuisance to walk outside to the car or to the mailbox and have your feet covered in mud. It gets all over your car and it ruins your good shoes. But what can you do, not much.
Out around the barn the mud is much worse and it can become a problem. If you feed outside the barn the mud will just continue to get more messy and harder to get around in. It is hard on the cattle and hard on you. Then when it freezes the ground is so uneven that it is difficult to walk on.
So, what do we do? I don’t know about everyone else but, the one thing we do is move our feeders around every few weeks to keep the mud from becoming a problem. If it does become an issue, there are times when we had to just haul in more rock. There are some areas around here that I know are 10 inches or more deep with rock that has been built up over the years.
The other way is to feed on concrete but that can also get messy and pretty quick. Then you just have to clean, clean and clean. And if not careful, it can get pretty slick. I know that when it does get in that condition it can be hazardous. The concrete can be as slick as glass and a broken leg can happen pretty easily.
Another thing we do is drag the ground area around the feeders. When the ground is still muddy yet a little frozen, we pull the drag behind the tractor and even out the ground. Now, I don’t do this myself, but Al does on a pretty regular basis. He usually does this at the same time he puts out hay for the cattle and horses.
We do the same procedure around the hay feeders. They are easy enough to pick up with the tractor and move every time we put out a new bale. This keeps the area from becoming too much of a mess and the grass will grow back come Spring.
Everyone does things differently but this just might give you another idea. I do know that a drag is a must on the farm and an important part of our farm equipment. We have ours made from 5 old tires, halved and attached together in a triangular shape with a chain that hooks to the tractors hitch. It does a great job.
On most farms or ranches you see several out buildings. Some are for the hay and feed storage and some are for equipment and repairs. Others may be for livestock, whether it is for just the purpose of feeding or for holding them in stalls.
Most farmers/ranchers I know and have talked to have a barn for their cattle and livestock. Most of them are used to feed, not to contain them. We rarely contain our cattle in the barn unless we are vaccinating, sorting or working them for some reason. Cattle do well out in the open but, they do need shelter from the weather. In the summer, it is good to have a place to get out of the heat and away from the flies. In the winter, it is good to have a place to get out of the wind, cold and wet weather. They will withstand most all weather but do like to have a comfortable break from the worst of it just like we do.
Our Longhorns roam the pasture year around but we have a specific area where they are fed and they have one side of the hay barn for shelter to get them out of the weather. If the barn is too far away when a storm hits or it is too hot, we will find them down in the valley in the trees down by the creek. They are pretty smart animals.
Another reason to have a barn for your cattle is so that you can work your cattle safely. It is not always necessary that you personally have to have one but, at least, have use of one available to you.
So, no, a barn is not necessary but shelter is. It can be considered as a part of your lifestock or farm supplies. Make sure they have some kind of protection and they will be happy.
Here we are almost a year on our blog. We have posted over 70 blogs and would appreciate comments from our readers. We would like to know your opinions and ideas about our blog. If there is an article that caught your eye, let me know your thoughts on the subject. We look forward to hearing from you.
If there is a subject that you would like to know about, we can do our best to find an answer to your question.
We are a farm family and enjoy our animals and farm life. So talking about the farm and all that it requires is a passion of ours. From equine supplements to chicken coupes, we will discuss just about anything. Comments welcome.
Merry Christmas everyone. It is the holiday season and we are all getting ready for the parties, family get togethers and presents. Now, who doesn’t get excited over receiving a gift?
Well, can you believe that your animals like to receive gifts also? Now I am not necessarily talking large animals but if they are a pet, they will let you know in their own way that they are happy. Larger animals, like cattle appreciate a new bale of hay set out for them or an extra bucket of feed, even an extra bale of straw for bedding and to show their appreciation, they jump right in like it is a new toy.
If they are pets they are more loving and affectionate. Our horses enjoy an extra and unexpected brushing and even that unexpected walk just because they spend time with their master. Our calves get an extra bale of straw for bedding and my pet, Buster, gets to be led around and pampered a little, he is my Little Holestine bull calf. Our dogs, Jessie and Bella may get a new tennis ball and treats for a day or two and my goat herd will get new bedding and a little treat, animal crackers. Even livestock vitamins are a treat for your animal. My horse enjoys peppermint and if I give him a piece of peppermint candy after a good ride or just because. I can tell he loves it.
They really do appreciate the extras that we can give them just like we appreciate the gifts we receive. So do something special for your animals this season and show them your love.
If you have animals you will have to have some type of livestock feeders to feed them. Now, I do not mean cats and dogs, I’m talking cattle, horses, goats, sheep, pigs and such. Depending on the animal or animals you have will tell you what size you will need.
Goats, sheep and pigs usually need a low feeder where the trough is low to the ground or sits directly on the ground. This makes it easy for them to reach. Horses and cattle, unless babies, can be higher. High enough so that they do not have to eat off the ground and low enough that they can easily reach without struggling to reach their feed.
Once you have determined the size, how high and how many will be eating from this one feeder, you will need to purchase supplies. That will include lumber, treated or non-treated, some 2×4′s and 2×6′s, strong sturdy posts and some screws. How much of these will depend on the size of the feeder you want to build. Then you get your measuring tape, saw, hammer, if using nails, drill and begin to build. I am certain that if you do not have an idea of how to do this you can find instructions on the internet or contact your local farm bureau. It will take some time but in the end well worth it.
On the other hand, you can purchase livestock feeders at any online or storefront farm supply company. There are several to choose from, all shapes and sizes. If you are not one to build things or work with your hands, then this may be the way to go. Check out our website by clicking on livestock feeders and look around. Click out our affiliate “Barn World” and you will also find some feeders and ideas there.
Cattle sorting is an art that grew out of necessity. Ranches in the American prairie lands often butted up against each other. As a result, cattle herds became mixed up and ranchers lost track of their valuable property. Ranchers solved this problem by branding their cattle with an identifying mark and then sorting their cattle into a pen using special tools.
Cattle sorting sticks feature a paddle end used to shepherd cattle into a designated area. Successful sorting depends on a keen understanding of cattle behavior. For instance, handlers need to stay outside of the cattle’s comfort zone – sometimes a distance as large as 300 feet – in order to get them to move without spooking. A handler’s positioning outside this comfort zone helps to influence the cattle’s movement.