Early Monday morning, after a final check of the perimeter fencing, we opened the gate from the Mountain field to the Bottom field. The cows were so excited! Bella, the leader of the herd with her heifer calf Pearl by her side, immediately began scoping out the perimeter. Some of the younger cows danced with joy at seeing this fresh stand of grass. At this time of year, all of the cows are tired of eating hay but most of the grass is still thin, just beginning to grow. Having a field with fresh, tall grass is definitely a treat for the ladies. Looking forward, as part of our yearly field rotation, we hope to keep the Bottom field set aside during the winter months so each spring we will have stockpiled good grass.
Old Lucy, the last cow to pass through the gate is well into her teens, perhaps even 20 years old. She is part angus and part dairy with a wrinkly, dangling udder much used from years of raising calves. Old Lucy meanders in the new field, takes a look around and then heads for the trough for a snack of sweet grain. I always save a scoop and sneak it to her when the other cows aren’t looking.
Turn on the volume before playing this second video. The sound of cows munching the tall sweet grass is the best!
The Bottom field is about 20 acres of pasture. We sectioned off 6-7 acres, let the cows graze that grass down and then move them to the next section. By the time they are in the last area, the first section will have had some time to recover, before the herd moves back through. By early-May, the cows will be back in the Mountain field, just in time for Shane Jr, our red angus bull to join them!
Five days later, the line between the grazed and ungrazed portions of the field is distinct. Each morning and evening when I drive out to check on the herd, the girls moo and bellow, staring at the greener grass on other side of the fence, then looking at me with pleading eyes.
This evening during a lull in the rain, we headed out to move the fence line and give the herd more grass. The anticipation was palpable, and loud!
All eyes were focused on the new fence line ….
Ready, Set, Go!
Here is an interesting picture of Pearl, just shy of 3 weeks old and already trained on the electric fence. She is perched on the edge of the old and new line, no fence in place anymore, but Pearl hesitates, and won’t easily cross that line.