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 Winter on the farm

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Hilly



Posts : 406
Join date : 2010-09-24
Location : Sylvan Lake, Alberta

PostSubject: Winter on the farm    Sat Dec 10, 2011 7:23 pm


Not much happens here in the winter aside from selling grain, moving the swath fences and taking holidays... but here are a few random pictures.





Grandpa and Grandmas




The kids on our small toboggan hill,





They even get me to try and break a leg




It takes a few truck loads of water to make this rink




My 2 year old learning how to skate




My boys on the small indoor rink, not as much shovelling Smile




Kids are always happy when I get the Christmas lights up




Last year Smile




Cumberland Falls






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Dylan Biggs



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Join date : 2011-03-07

PostSubject: Re: Winter on the farm    Sat Dec 10, 2011 8:24 pm



Those boys are some lucky! An indoor also, my goodness, the are very fortunate!!

Good Job!







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pitchfork

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Join date : 2010-10-05
Location : Western Illinois

PostSubject: Re: Winter on the farm    Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:28 am

I remember a number of years ago I was planning to surprise my kids with an ice rink in the back yard. My wife drove in with the kids while I was working on it and trying to save the surprise told them I was laying out the area for a new machine shed. My 4 year old said it sure looked like a skating rink to her.
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: Winter on the farm    Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:46 pm

my goodness, I had missed this..looked like Keeney Angus was nearly snowed in; I guarantee school was cancelled.. ...great shot of Cumberland Falls; site of one of two moonbows in the world Smile
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Hilly



Posts : 406
Join date : 2010-09-24
Location : Sylvan Lake, Alberta

PostSubject: Re: Winter on the farm    Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:19 pm

.


I know it’s crazy but we still calve a few cows this time of year, we can calve around 200hd comfortably with the existing small heated shop and open south face of a machine shed. We have relatively cheap straw so we build calving pens and alleyways with it. You can see the pre- calving cows on swath during the day and locked in on the bigger pack at night. The smaller pack we use for 2-4 day old calves and then they are put out on different swath or banked grass from there.



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Grassfarmer



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Join date : 2010-09-27
Location : Belmont, Manitoba, Canada

PostSubject: Re: Winter on the farm    Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:50 pm

A simple but effective looking setup. How do the two calving groups compare in terms of #s needing assistance to calve or to suckle and what difference do you find between the two calving periods in terms of treatment rate of calves for scours or other complaints? Do you do the every two hours through the night checking deal on these early calving cows?
I moved from calving earlier to calving later and never regret the move but I didn't run the two groups at once to get a true comparison of early vs late, in the same year under the same management.
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Hilly



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Join date : 2010-09-24
Location : Sylvan Lake, Alberta

PostSubject: Re: Winter on the farm    Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:52 pm

Grassy,
I wish I had informative information for you on comparing the two groups, but I really don’t.

We have only had the two groups for 4 years, we have tried April-May calving as well, and it didn’t work as we are going long hours seeding from April 15th to May 20th.

I like calving in March for a few reasons
1: I think I’d go stir crazy doing nothing tell mid April
2: Tim Hortons Rrroll Up The Rim To Win coffee cups
3: Potential cash flow around our farms year end gives us extra options

We check cows every two hours if it is below -15, this year I have not had to check cows.

In the March group I usually end calving on the plus side for numbers as I have more twins than the June, I also think I have more backwards calves in the March group but that may be due to the fact that I see more cows calve. The last three years I have 7 assisted in the books, 1 of those was a hard pull the rest were backwards or twins.

I don’t generally have to help calves suck in March as I’m big on calf vigour and udders are not a problem the only one in recent years I can think of was a cow that got mastitis and I had to bring her in and put that calf on that quarter... Didn’t work.

Scours all depends on the year and is worst at runoff, but I have time to doctor and the calves are use to people so it’s not hard. I give them as much room as possible so it’s not a big problem in most years but I have had a few years that I had to IV a few.

I have more navel ill in the March group 7-10% I would say without going through the books, I haven’t seen that at all in the June group and generally we lose 1 or 2 of the biggest to stomach ulcers in the early group as well.

All in all I’m happy with the March deal, even if it’s a little more work and not recommended, so I have no reason to quit yet.

The June group, where to start Rolling Eyes

I first decided on the advice of an expert to move my cows to June, I’m quite proud of myself for only committing about 1/3 of my cows to this idea.
My number of opens was double even though they had more time before breeding; the ones that did catch had way too much milk at calving time, which appeared to contribute more scours. Scours in the heat of June is a whole lot less forgiving then in the cold, quicker dehydration and flies. Add to that that I was running them on daily moves with the same stock density as I was the March pairs, added both stress from congestion as well as stress from cows running around complaining about the fact that they need to be moved every time I come out to look for new calves.

Now the calves for release from that stress were going under the wire into the tall ungrazed grass, which wouldn’t be a problem if they pick the wire in the direction of the cows next move, they had a 1 in 3 chance of getting it right.

Few things were as gut wrenching as searching for sick calves in acres of tall grass knowing full well time is sort in the heat and the flies have already found them with the coyotes not far behind.

Now I realize most of you are thinking how I could have been that reckless and I can’t explain it, at the time it sounded like a good idea and at this point I was ready to quit.

That was the first year since then over the years I have went to weekly moves, went down to Bud Williams to learn how to handle the cattle, and have put all replacement heifers into that group with more moderate milk.

Last year I calved around 230 in that group 37 of which are heifers, I had to help 5 suck two were cows that made the move the first year their udders didn’t hold up, 1 was born in a thunderstorm and was lost in the shuffle, one first calver and one second calver would not mother. 1 set of twins and no assisted births lost 2 calves to scours and 1 to ravens.
I like how the calves get to learn the swath grazing from their moms but having the calves on the cows during the winter draws on the cows more than I am use to in the March cows. I early wean the first calvers for that reason.

None of this tells you much other then I’m a slow learner and a lot of it I have posted before, but the comparisons don’t work as I have been changing my management and numbers every year.

As of now I see holding at around 200 in March and expanding the June group.
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Grassfarmer



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Location : Belmont, Manitoba, Canada

PostSubject: Re: Winter on the farm    Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:56 pm

No, it tells me quite a bit, it kind of confirms what our experiences were when calving in March and the problems we've had with some of our tail enders born in June.
Luckily I don't have a lot of grain to seed so can go with the April 15 onwards date that works well for us. Somedays I wish I had March calves as it would give us more weight and maturity on our grass-feds by processing time. Getting up every two hours during the night is a deal breaker for me - been there, done that and don't want to go back.
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Oldtimer

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PostSubject: Re: Winter on the farm    Thu Mar 22, 2012 11:50 pm

Thats how our country usually looks this time of year- BUT not this year...Temp today was 77- bugs are out- grass is getting a green tinge (only saw one snowbank left in one coulee)...We been fixing fence/creek crossings so we can get ready to turn cows out on the spring pasture...Lots of old grass available and if we get a little shot of warm rain the grass will be leaping out of the ground..
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Hilly



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Location : Sylvan Lake, Alberta

PostSubject: Re: Winter on the farm    Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:40 am

Grassfarmer wrote:
No, it tells me quite a bit, it kind of confirms what our experiences were when calving in March and the problems we've had with some of our tail enders born in June.
Luckily I don't have a lot of grain to seed so can go with the April 15 onwards date that works well for us. Somedays I wish I had March calves as it would give us more weight and maturity on our grass-feds by processing time. Getting up every two hours during the night is a deal breaker for me - been there, done that and don't want to go back.

I’m a dairy farmer at heart so sleep is optional but appreciated in small doses Smile . I actually enjoy the night checks, its driving around the lake that gets old and I’m working toward fixing that.
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PostSubject: Re: Winter on the farm    Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:27 am

Hilly wrote:

The June group, where to start Rolling Eyes

. Add to that that I was running them on daily moves with the same stock density as I was the March pairs, added both stress from congestion as well as stress from cows running around complaining about the fact that they need to be moved every time I come out to look for new calves.

.


I find the same issues when supplementing with grain. This winter I got tired of the cows running to the gate every time I drove by, or a truck similar to mine, or a cow mooed, a dog barked, a train whistled, etc. I put out some tubs instead. After three days I could drive through or by them without a peep. They ended up with a net loss in quality of feed intake, but a net gain of hay consumed, as they spent more time eating, and less time balling, walking, pacing, fretting.

I have no idea how to fix the behavior in a supplemental daily, or semi-daily, feeding situation. I tried walking through them, walking them, feeding them more, feeding them less, coming in a different gate every time, feeding in a different place, feeding at the same time and same place, not feeding at the same time......all to no avail. Chaos would ensue with the thought of a tasty treat. I find it loathsome. I can fix the behavior in pastured cattle expecting daily, or multiple daily moves, but I gave up on fixing this and went with tubs. Of course I just could have not supplemented them, let them get really thin and weak, without the strength to walk or bawl, but instead the tubs seemed to work.


Bootheel, never having all the tools I need to fix everything
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Grassfarmer



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Location : Belmont, Manitoba, Canada

PostSubject: Re: Winter on the farm    Sat Mar 24, 2012 3:04 pm

Hilly or Bootheel do you think your herd size is contributing to the unsettled behaviour? That's not something we experience, certainly not in the spring or around calving time but our herd size is usually only around 30 pairs per field in the post calving situation. The only time we get the mooing, unsettled, wanting moved behaviour is in the fall almost as soon as we start getting frost. We have bigger herd size then maybe 60-80 pairs but I have often wondered if the frost acts as a mental trigger to them that winter is coming and its time to go on an eating binge? Their grass situation doesn't change but at some point in September their behaviour does, overnight and it always happens at the same time as the first harder frosts.
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Hilly



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Join date : 2010-09-24
Location : Sylvan Lake, Alberta

PostSubject: Re: Winter on the farm    Sat Mar 24, 2012 6:05 pm



I don’t think to a great extent... as I have bigger groups in the winter on daily moves and they don’t act that way unless the are hungry.

It may be the combination of verity of feed and frequency of moves, do you move your cows once or twice a day in the spring?
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Grassfarmer



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PostSubject: Re: Winter on the farm    Sat Mar 24, 2012 7:44 pm

Hilly wrote:


I don’t think to a great extent... as I have bigger groups in the winter on daily moves and they don’t act that way unless the are hungry.

It may be the combination of verity of feed and frequency of moves, do you move your cows once or twice a day in the spring?

I rarely move anything more often than once every second day now. Moving every second day is an efficiency saving for me, particularly on the rented parcels we graze that I have to drive to get to. In reality there are not many days in the year you risk taking a second bite with 2 day moves in this climate and given the recovery times we use. We sometimes move the fatteners daily in the latter stages if we are really needing to push consumption to get enough of a finish on before processing. When we are calving on banked grass we typically set stock and graze a 10 acre field for maybe 14 days - 7 with the 100 pregnant cows, then 7 with 25-30 pairs that are born there then clear it and move the pairs to a fresh banked field. I would never want to crowd cows at calving time - it's the opposite of what they want to do.
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Hilly



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Join date : 2010-09-24
Location : Sylvan Lake, Alberta

PostSubject: Re: Winter on the farm    Sun Mar 25, 2012 12:16 am

I was fairly sure that you didn’t move them very fast at calving.
Like I say I am moving them every week now at calving and they don’t pile up and complain like they did on daily moves unless I walk over to the reel after the pickings are getting short, it is easier to allow the time needed to pair them up before a move once a week instead of every day.
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Hilly



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Location : Sylvan Lake, Alberta

PostSubject: Re: Winter on the farm    Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:33 pm

My brother stopped by to take a few pictures as Mom, Dad and three of my boys process a group of summer calves.

He put together this little compilation...

Warning this content was intended for a KC audience and may contain scenes with snow more than 2” deep and sub zero temperatures, viewer discretion is advised.



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Oldtimer

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PostSubject: Re: Winter on the farm    Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:43 pm

I love the young uns "Mad Bomber" cap... I've worn one longer than I can remember when the weather really gets nasty...Been trying to bring them back in style locally with the Grandkids... Always had the rabbit fur- but am going to get me one of those real good coyote ones for my Christmas present..
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PostSubject: Re: Winter on the farm    Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:22 pm

Hilly and Crew, I sure enjoyed the movie, very very good. DV, helping the wind melt 14 inches down low and 28 inches up high by typing on KC.
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PostSubject: Re: Winter on the farm    Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:32 pm

Every morning I've got one kid laying on heater vent with a coat and blanket on. Another one is half dressed and the youngest refuses to wear anything but a diaper. I think the last two could tough it with you, Craig, but my oldest has folded his cards on the hand that wins a trip to the tundra.



Nice work and wonderful family.


We are blessed.


Bootheel

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