Finally, the last two pairs caught in the corral! (we think……)
Now that the weaned heifer calves (our future mama’s) are in their winter feeding pen, we do a major clean of the corrals before it freezes solid. This allows us to bring in fresh bedding for calving in February. Fall is a good time of year to haul this manure to fields that need the benefits that manure can bring.
Now that the cows are weaned from their calves they get moved off to their fall pasture. In farming lingo, these cows are called ‘dry’, which means they are pregnant but not milking. This is their holiday/recovery time. A time to themselves. A time to put on weight for winter.
Once we got the cows gathered in the morning, we started the push across the canyon to our other property. My daughter and I went ahead to usher the lead cows onto and across the bridge. Doug and Adele pushed up and we had a crew of three more blocking driveways and directing traffic.
The 300 cows use about 1 1/2 kilometres of the road. It is crucial to have people ahead, otherwise they can go the wrong way and be hard to turn around. This drive went a lot smoother then ‘Moos on a Mission’, where it took 6 hours instead of this hour and a half.
In order for the pregnant cows to put on weight and grow a healthy calf in their last trimester, we like to put them into a pasture that has not been grazed. We work hard throughout the year to purposely end up with un-grazed pasture that will supply the whole herd’s feed requirements until the snow pushes us out (approximately 6-8 weeks). Roughly calculating, without this pasture we could use up to $20,000 a month in hay.
It does our heart good to see our cows wandering off into the tall dry grass. For us, this is where our ‘year’ ends and we relax.