Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Farm Fun- Feeding cattle

Thank goodness we're a small cattle operation- only 27 head of cow calf pairs at the moment. The reason I say thank goodness, is because lately I've been doing the feeding by myself. Well not entirely by myself, I have my trusty crew of canines who hold the bales on the flat bed. ;)




When my hubby is available to help feed, I drive the tractor and he tosses the hay off the trailer. When I do the chore myself, I use either the flatbed truck or the tractor and trailer. Though the tractor and trailer are easier. I drive into the field, stop where I want to start tossing hay and get out of the truck of off the tractor, cut the strings on 800 lb bales of either alfalfa or tricticale, and pull a flake off on both sides of the flatbed. Then I get back in the truck or stand on the back of the tractor and let out the clutch and move forward about ten feet and  go to the back where the hay is and toss off a couple more large flakes. I do this process until the bale is fed. Then get in the truck or hop on the tractor and head out of the field. It takes me three times as long to feed by myself as it does when there's two of us, but the cattle need fed even if I'm the only one home.

In the past when we had small bales to feed and I had to do it alone and the cows were in the larger pasture, I'd put the tractor in the slowest gear it would go, climb down the back and up onto the trailer, and feed the bales off as the tractor crept across the field. If the tractor started heading toward a fence or irrigation ditch I'd have to hop off and up the back, grab the steering wheel and redirect the tractor's course and hop back on the trailer to finish feeding. I REALLY like feeding the large bales over the small bales. Less stress to feed alone.

Feeding happens once a day in the afternoon. It gives the calves something dry to lay on and the cows then have the heat from chewing their cuds to keep them warm at night. And when it's done I have a feeling of fulfillment for a job well done.



And don't forget Tink. She has her own basket bolted onto the side of the tractor so she can ride. My husband put a basket on every tractor because she loves to ride and it's hard to work a tractor with a dog on your lap.

13 comments:

Caroline Clemmons said...

Paty, this is why we don't run cattle on our land. We even have a neighbor cut the hay. Another neighbor uses part of our pasture for her small angus herd, but we don't have to do anything with them unless the bull, Bob, takes down a fence. He loves our bird feeder and sometimes makes a run for it. :-)

Yes, we have the tractor and implements, but I no longer drive the tractor. Since my unseccessful ankle surgery, I have trouble climbing up to the seat. Maybe it's just as well. I do like driving the riding mower around the yard, though. Love my roses!

D'Ann said...

Fed like that a million times...in fact, must go feed the horses now...
When my daughter was little, like most farm kids, she drove the pickup while I threw hay...starting when she was 7 yrs old.

Judith Ashley said...

Paty, My favorite part of this post is your larger canine buddies keeping the hay bales from falling off. LOL Love the pictures!

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

You certainly are to be commended for your other life. It must be a challenge in the winter, but must be great to get out into the fresh air in the good weather. I love the smell of hay.

Paty Jager said...

Caroline, Our hopes when we sell this place is to only have horses at the other place. They are less maintenance in the winter than cattle.

D'Ann, Our kids drove for us as soon as they could steer. I could stick the tractor in low and hop on the trailer and they'd keep the tractor from running into anything. Grandkids are coming.... New drivers.

Judith, I figured someone would get a kick out of my "helpers".

Hi Paisley, As you'll see in future Friday blogs. I grew up working with animals and taking care of them all year round as well as the outdoor work.

Diana Mcc. said...

Two words, tough lady! I love the smell of hay but don't think I'd want to be responsible for a herd of cattle and their well being. I really admire you for all your hard work, and the fact you still have time to write great books!

Callie said...

Paty, you are the woman! Your 'other' life sounds great--and hard work. Thanks for sharing, especially the pictures.

Paty Jager said...

Hi Diana. Thanks. It's the hard work that helps me write.

Hey Callie! The pictures are great.

Ilona Fridl said...

Paty,
I used to spend some summers on a ranch in Wyoming when I was a kid. Your blog brought back some great memories!

Patricia Preston said...

I'm a city gal. Never fed a cow in my life.

Paty Jager said...

Ilona, I'm glad I could bring back good memories.

Patricia, I can't comprehend never having animals to care for.

Sarah Raplee said...

Paty,

Your blogs about farm/ranch life are always interesting to us 'city folk.' As a child, I loved spending time on mu grandparents' farm. I learned so much and treasure the memories of the farm animals.

Paty Jager said...

Hi Sarah! Thanks for stopping in. My cousin(who you'll hear stories about later) came and visited with us every summer. WE had some good adventures.