Snow Covered Cows

By on Feb 13, 2018 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

A blanket of snow covered my black and red Scottish Highlanders turning them white. When it snows you might ask, “Why don’t you bring your cows inside, where it’s warm.” I don’t because cow hair acts like roofing, keeping heat in. Cattle ‘insulation’ is similar to house insulation. If a house roof is snow covered, the insulation is working. Snow piled on the back of cow means that the heat from the cow is not escaping to melt the snow. Some of my cattle are Scottish Highlanders with long shaggy, lanolin coats. The long hair insulates them and the lanolin creates a natural ‘raincoat’ causing snow and rain to run off before it penetrates to their skin. Even the Angus-cross cattle have coats and insulating fat that works the same way. A bitter wind is more challenging than snow for cows. Cows use natural cover like trees or hills avoid the wind. Younger cattle are not as well...

A Steer is Shot with a Civil War-Era Musket

By on Feb 4, 2018 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

The bullet was lodged under the steer’s skin for at least six months. It was a bullet, called a minié, from a rifle-musket that didn’t kill the animal. The butcher found the bullet when the steer was processed. He must have been shot in the Fall during hunting season. Hunting season starts in mid-September with waterfowl, followed by deer and ends in mid-December with turkey. There are strict rules each hunter must follow to acquire a license to hunt in New Hampshire. Hunters perform a service by harvesting deer so the remaining animals have enough food found in the wild to survive. Too many deer and not enough forage means starvation. All the hunters I know eat the animals they shoot. A hunter knows what good meat tastes like and many buy grassfed beef when they run out of venison. I love responsible hunters. Even so, mistakes are made and domestic livestock, as well as people, are...

Cattle are Patriots Fans

By on Jan 30, 2018 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

Gameday is here and my livestock are ready, are you? Our Scottish Highlander cattle like to wear Patriot bling while the pigs just like to eat the leftover snacks if there are any. While traditional football might be a bit rough for cattle they do like games, especially the running game they play when I forget to close a gate. It takes seconds for Topper, a black 1400 pound Highlander ox, to rush a gate when we deliver his hay. He’ll run through the gate, kicking up his heels as he dashes up the road to the back pasture. Does he think he’s making a touchdown? Once the thrill of escape is over, Topper will wander back to his pasture and wait at the gate to be reunited with his pals and the freshly delivered hay. Pigs like to escape through open gates which they often open themselves. Just like cattle, food will lure pigs back into their pens. Capturing pigs is a challenge if they...

A Yearling Is Saved

By on Jan 22, 2018 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

Just after feeding, I saw a white belly and kicking legs in the back pasture. Two yearlings were staring at the form on the ground. Something was wrong and I had to investigate. Twice a day, after each feeding, I always take a quick check of the yearlings. If any are not at the feed bunker eating hay I want to know why. There could be a problem, like the time Lou, a Highlander steer, got his head stuck in a gate. This time Betty, a yearling Hereford heifer, was in trouble. Betty is short with a round body, so round she looks bloated. Bloat is caused by an increase in gas pressure in the stomach and if not treated can cause death. Betty was not bloated but she was lying sideways in a slight depression and could not roll over to get up. Her eyes were white, she was alive but moaning softly and kicking one rear leg as two other yearlings looked on. She was down and could not get up. A...

Twins on the Farm

By on Jan 17, 2018 in Carole's Corner |

This week I took four pigs and a heifer to the butcher. Processing animals that I have spent so much time raising is challenging and sad, but we also have animals we won’t process; ones that have a lifetime job on the farm like Lou, a working steer who could spend his life as a working steer with his buddy, JoJo. Lou was born on the farm two years ago to a Scottish Highlander cow named, Ulani. The day after he was born we moved Ulani and Lou to the holding pen to make sure they bonded and that Lou, a white bull calf, was healthy. A day later we found another calf in the field. Two other cows were due to give birth but neither showed an interest in this brown heifer. I was puzzled until I realized that Ulani had given birth to twins. Twins can be a problem. Giving birth to one calf is stressful for a cow. Giving birth to two calves is dangerous and can result in the death of one...

Candy Canes for Cows

By on Jan 10, 2018 in Carole's Corner |

Don’t know what to do with leftover holiday candy? Here’s a thought; feed to livestock. Of course, too much sugar is not good for cattle but a bite here and there won’t hurt them or their teeth. We only feed peppermint to our “ambassador herd,” which includes our pulling and riding cattle and some of the 4H critters. We also have a bucket of gingerbread man cookies which some of the cattle like to nibble on. Not all the cattle like cookies or peppermints but my oxen team, Topper and Stash, and riding steer, Curious Bleu, devour the treats. http://food.concordmonitor.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Bleu.mp4 Even though I don’t feed the yearlings treats they love third cut baleage hay and watch eagerly as we strip what we call, “pumpkin bales.” We call them “pumpkin bales” because third cut hay is fine and when wrapped it shrinks to about half the size of other...

Shivering Calf Needs Attention

By on Jan 2, 2018 in Carole's Corner |

My fingers hurt. The plastic wrap on the hay bale was frozen and so were my fingers. Bruce got out of the Bobcat to help me, the one-woman ground crew, release the bale from its wrap and feed it out to the cattle. We were on day six of the arctic blast and the cattle needed food, lots of food. Besides food, livestock need water to survive cold temperatures so when we aren’t feeding we’re checking water. When the temperatures stay frigid for so long even water heaters won’t work. We have to check four troughs at least three times a day and sometimes heat the water with a kerosene heater I call the “Salamander” after breaking up the ice. Cattle can freeze too. I brought one shivering steer named Xander into the barn away from the wind where I duck-taped a wool horse blanket on him. Wool keeps livestock (and people) warm and wicks away moisture but despite these efforts,...

Pigs Move Forward

By on Dec 27, 2017 in Carole's Corner | 6 comments

The pigs were all piled in the center aisle, not where they were supposed to be. One or more of the two-hundred-pound pigs figured out how to open their pen door from the inside. Then, that or another pig, opened the other pen door from the outside. They were pig piled in the aisle and snoring when we found them. I’m not sure how we ended up with twenty-seven pigs in late December. We wanted to process them in November but after the fire at LeMay’s in Goffstown and labor shortages at other processing facilities, we were stuck with extra pigs and cattle into Christmas. The tide is starting to turn and we were able to send off four pigs and two beef cattle this week. One of the pigs we shipped will be a roaster pig for a traditional South American New Year’s dinner. Apparently, Uruguay, Chile, and other South American countries respect the pig because it always goes...