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Look very closely at this picture...

It looks like a nice young heifer in a corral, right?

Look closely, see that large black lump in the back....

Let me zoom in for you a little bit.

Why yes, that is a large black boar sunning himself!

We've been having issues with this heifer for a little bit.  Jon noticed one day that she was dreadfully skinny.  He moved her into the corral and she drank and drank and drank.  Later that day, she looked much better and was getting plump.  Turns out she was probably very dehydrated.  Jon put her back in with the other cows and observed her for awhile.  She may have gotten shocked by the electric fence that we have near the waterer and now refuses to drink out of it.  That is the only source of water in the that pasture, so she has gotten dehydrated again.  We are debating on what to do with her now, she's a nice friendly heifer and we would like to milk a cow this year.  This would be her first year calving, but we are a little doubtful she was actually able to sustain a pregnancy with her issues.  We shall see.

Oh, I should probably explain about the boar.  He has been separated for awhile now, because when we tried to put everyone together after mating it got a little hairy.  The boars were fine and dandy together since they grew up together, but once they mate, they become very territorial over their sows.  We were crossing our fingers that we would be able to put them together because that is much less work for us.  Didn't work!

She's looking a little bit plumper since this morning all ready.  When we first pulled her out, she was like a stick.

On a side note:  Hallelujah for spring!  I've got grass growing all ready, anybody else?

Rich  – (March 8, 2012 at 3:27 PM)  

Almost all I know about milk cows is that when I was about 12 years old I came close to being stomped by a cow when my grandfather's milk cow (a holstein I think?) came running full-blast out of a creek bottom and chased me across a pasture until I found a spot to dive under the fence. Grandpa saw the whole thing from a distance and said he never would have thought that someone could move that fast if he hadn't seen it for himself.

I still don't know what her problem was that day.

Unless I'm mistaken, I thought your cattle were Shorthorns, can they produce enough milk to make milking them worth it?

Farmer Jon  – (March 8, 2012 at 5:47 PM)  

Hey Rich, they're Milking Shorthorns which are different then regular Shorthorns. Not as much milk as some breeds but more than most. We picked them because we weren't sure if we were going to be able to start a dairy operation. As of now, we're thinking we would like to concentrate on beef and are going to breed them to a beef bull this year. I had considered scrapping the herd and starting fresh with "beef" cattle but they are a pretty good group. Easy calving, 100% grass-fed, no antibiotics. That heifer is really the first sign of health problems I've had and all I do is feed them grass, hay and minerals. Plus, I don't think it will take long to get some pretty good looking beef cattle coming from the herd.

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