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, had 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 often 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 and she was alive but moaning softly and kicking one rear leg as two other yearlings looked on. She was down and could not get...

Twins on the Farm

By on Jan 17, 2018 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

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 | 0 comments

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 | 0 comments

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...

Livestock Relationships

By on Dec 20, 2017 in Carole's Corner |

The two sheep, Faith and Joy would not leave the trailer. They huddled behind Eleanor, the Sicilian donkey, who had placed her body between me and them. If I walked around Eleanor, the sheep ducked under her head to Eleanor’s other side. Always just out of reach. The three were working together to keep me away. We had just returned from a “Living Nativity” event produced by the Brookside Congregational Church and Friends of Stark Park in Manchester. The oxen, two white Scottish Highlander working steers, Ben and Snuff, were from my farm, Miles Smith Farm. I had borrowed, Eleanor, the donkey and the sheep from a farmer in Chichester. During the event, Mary and Joseph stayed in the manger watching over baby Jesus while Eleanor, her sheep gang, and the shepherds watched. I stood near the manger, dressed in period custom as Jewish farmer, with Ben and Snuff while the Church pastor,...