Because Shane is a new bull for us, we have replacement heifers that will be bred over the next two years. A number of the heifers are already between 17-20 months old and definitely mature enough to breed. After his work was done with the cows in the main herd, Shane has been hanging out in the Front field with two steers and the horse, and has grown bored. So we decided to choose five lucky ladies to keep Shane company during his last weeks on the farm before he heads off to work as the herd bull on our friend’s farm.
In order to sort out these five heifers from the main herd, we setup a small corral in the South field using step-in posts and polywire, and made a makeshift sorting point at the entrance gate to the field. As the main herd walked from the Mountain Field through the gate to the South field, the polywire would be repositioned, directing bred cows and calves to right and the five lucky heifers into the corral on the left. We had placed troughs with sweet feed on both sides so everyone had a view of snacks. Bill lead the move driving the mule, TA walked behind to keep any stragglers going, and I did the sorting. The plan worked well and after sorting out a couple of cows, we had all five heifers isolated from the main herd.
Next, the three of us set up an alleyway from the small corral to the Front field, opened the gate and led the five heifers into the field where Shane was eagerly waiting. Breeding these heifers this fall is beneficial for a number of reasons. First, with Shane at our farm until December, this is a good project to keep him busy. And second, the heifers will calve sometime between late August – September when not too much is happening on the farm. Our bred cows will have their calves in the spring, so we will be able to focus all of our effort on safe deliveries for these first time mama’s.
Shane takes his responsibility seriously, and was very pleased to have more work to do. These heifers were all born in the spring of 2018 and after just a couple of days, everyone began acting more like a herd of grown cows. A cow’s job is to have a calf, and these heifers seemed happy to finally get the chance.
Getting the farm ready for winter always starts with the selling of our spring steers. We had planned to have delivered the 2019 steers in late October but one of them came down with an eye infection. We kept the boys until the infection cleared up and the antibiotics wore off.
Having the bull and heifers in the Front field made sorting out the two steers a little more challenging, but finally off to camp for the 2019 boys!
This spring, four more heifers, Willow, Pearl, Aretha and Annie will be old enough to breed. And then our last replacement heifer, Rose’ will be ready in the spring of 2021.
The future of our herd!