Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Bovine family ties

I love you, Son.

I love you too, Mom.

We're changing the way things are done around here, regarding feeding the cows and horses.  
Adam's two horses have put on weight, far too much weight.  This could lead to health issues.  In the past we've gotten by just fine letting the horses eat at will from a big round bale of hay.  For some reason, perhaps their ages, it isn't working any more.  They're getting too much to eat.  
For the past month or so, I've been turning them out twice a day for two hours at a time to eat from their big bale of hay.  I don't think they've either one lost an ounce, and it's getting harder to get them to come back to the lot when the two hours are up.  I give them a tiny taste of sweet feed (about one cup each) to lure them back, but I think they're waking up to the fact that they're going to get locked away from the hay; they're more reluctant to come to me all the time.  
Cows' needs are different.  Ideally, they need all the hay they can get.  Cows don't founder on hay.  
So yesterday Cliff did some re-arranging.  
He put a big bale in the little cow-lot; the cows can enter and leave that pen, but the horses can't.  
He then placed a big bale in front of the barn across the fence from the horses, and we're going to try peeling hay off that a couple of times a day to feed them.  I haven't tried it yet, so I don't know how well it will work; it sounds like a messy situation.  
We're trying to decide how to deal with this situation next winter.  Normally Adam's pasture rent goes up when we start feeding hay, and back down when the grass can be grazed.  
We may stop raising the pasture rent in winter and let him buy his own hay and store it in our barn.  He can tell me how much he wants the horses to have, and I'll feed them accordingly.  He'd have control that way.  He's never complained, by the way, about his horses getting fat or the way we've handled them; I just want to prevent problems.  
It's always something when you have animals, isn't it?  Rather like children.  
If you noticed that my weight ticker on the sidebar hasn't changed, it's because my weight hasn't changed.  At least I'm not gaining.
It's still no heat wave, but Sadie's been soaking up sunshine for over two hours this morning; I guess she's waiting on me and Cliff to go for our walk.


Paula said...

Awww son is sooo cute but have you ever seen a calf that isn't?

Anonymous said...

Until we got a round bale feeder truck we had to peel hay off the bales...NOT FUN...we just used pitchforks and pried it off, bending the pitchforks. We found if the bale was standing upright we could kind of unwind it and it was a little easier...thought about cutting slices out with the chain saw but didn't try that. And you're right about horses and hay - we have 12 boarder horses and fortunately we have a lot of pasture left but do feed them a round bale once in a while...they just stand there all day with their heads buried in the hay...going in one end and coming out the other :))~Marcia/WY

Anita said...

I only have one little dog, and she feels like another child!

Love the pictures. :)