Consistent with past summers (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020), we are currently hosting yearling heifers on our pastures over the summer. Different from prior years, we are only hosting 2 instead of the typical 3.
The farmer only had 1 heifer born last year at his farm. He purchased a second heifer as he needs a few heifers every year to maintain his herd.
The larger black and white heifer is Snappy. She is inquisitive and very friendly – she enjoys head and nose rubs and likes to lick your hand. Snappy is in charge and leads the way.
The second heifer is named Ann. She is much smaller, more shy and tends to be a follower. She tends to shadow Snappy around the pasture.
They have been enjoying the lush pastures this year with a good balance of rain and sun so far – with the summer now more than halfway over already.
Consistent with past summers (2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018), we hosted 3 yearling heifers on our pastures over the summer.
This year they were on the smaller side as they were part of the end of summer births last year so were only ~10 months old whereas the cows we hosted in prior years were closer to 12 months old by the time they arrived here.
Because they were on the smaller side, in addition to all of the grass they could eat, they also received supplemental grain every few days so they would put on extra weight. Feeding the extra grain really made a big difference in how friendly the cows were. With the grain feedings, they would often run across the pastures when they saw anyone coming close to their gate.
Each year we host a few cows from a neighbor’s farm on our pastures for the summer. The cows eat the grass (meaning we don’t have to mow – the goats can’t eat enough on their own to make a dent in the full pasture) and the neighbor gets to reduce any stress on his own pastures.
This year, we are again hosting 3 yearling heifers. Their names are Nia, Della and Missy. They are all Red Angus and look very similar – it is hard to tell them apart without looking very closely. Nia is slightly larger than the others and Missy has a small white spot on her tail, but other than that they look the same.
The new cows inspecting the run-in shed.
A few days after their arrival, we noticed one of the cows seemed to be spending a long time in the shed instead of grazing. She might have been in there for an hour or two. Turns out she got her head stuck in the cow head gate and couldn’t get it out on her own. The cow head gate is used to lock their head into place in case you need to do anything to the cow such as give medication or dress a wound. We unhooked the gate and she was able to get her head out and rejoin the others in the pasture.
Loyal readers may remember Sunshine, one of the tenant cows that used our pasture during summer 2015.
Sunshine (summer 2015)
She gave birth to a calf, named Bert, in early summer 2016. Unfortunately, Sunshine rejected the calf and wouldn’t care for it. Other cows in the herd won’t take care of an abandoned calf so the calf needs to be hand raised to survive.
We went to visit Bert at his home farm a couple of miles away. Our neighbor let us bottle feed Bert for one of his meals.
Three new 1-year-old cows were dropped off last weekend to spend the summer at our farm grazing on our pastures. Just like last summer, these cows are part of a pasture lease and the cows will eat the grass to help them grow to maturity while at the same time reducing our need to mow and maintain the pastures over the summer.
The 3 cows we hosted last summer each gave birth to a calf this spring back at their home farm.
Click through to read more about each of the new cows for summer 2016.