Friday, November 09, 2012

Hungry calves, thirsty cats

George and Gracie are about eight weeks old, growing well and eating like crazy.  In another month or so, they will be turned out with the herd.  We use electric fence to keep the cows off the newly-planted clover and to keep the horses off any area where the legumes (clover and alfalfa) are so rich that they might founder if allowed to graze as much as they want.  The calves need to be trained to electric fence; they have to learn that it hurts.  
Cliff put up a small stretch of electric fence in the little lot a few days ago, since I turn the calves out in the little lot almost daily in order to let them exercise.  Both of them got a shock the first day and quickly learned it isn't a good idea to touch their noses to electric fence.  
Yesterday we took their lesson a step further:  There is no good grazing in the small lot, just weeds mostly, but the calves want something green so badly that they pick at it anyway.  Cliff decided to electric-fence an area of our yard so they could have fun eating grass, and also find out what it's actually like to be contained by an electric fence.  

They were out there for three hours and never stopped grazing.  Actually, the alfalfa hay I feed them is better for them than grass, but it sure was fun watching their enjoyment of the grass.  They both got shocked a few times and now have a good understanding of how electric fencing works, and how that little wire hurts when you touch it, no matter where you encounter it.  
The calves no longer get their bottles.  I've been feeding them a very expensive grain mixture, calf starter, all along.  Now I am giving them calf starter in the evening and sweet feed, a much cheaper grain mix, in the morning.  There is one bag of starter left; when it's gone, they will get sweet feed once a day and, as usual, all the alfalfa hay they can eat.  

Yesterday morning when I did chores I noticed the cats were out of water in the barn.  I intended to take care of that situation, but somehow it slipped my mind.  I was sitting at my computer and looked out the window to see this:  

He drank for the longest time!  Shortly after this, I noticed more activity at the birdbath.

 Suzy, too, spent plenty of time drinking.

"What do you expect?  You didn't give us any water!"


Cliff said...

We used to fence hundreds of acres of cornstalks for our feeder steers each fall. First thing each morning we'd need to drive the wire to see if the deer had knocked it down. They usually had.
We have a couple of electric heated waterers for our horses so the cats just use those.
Great to live in the country. Right?

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Your calves are just like having children around having to teach them what hurts and feeding them... Glad the cats didn't tip over your bird bath. We've had that happen here with the neighborhood cats. They did make for some cute pictures anyway.

Lori said...

Suzie does look rather indignant in that picture.

darev2005 said...

Cats have the best snarky looks, don't they? "This is your fault, you know..."