I am not sure where the rest of 2016 went, but it has flown by! Here on the farm, we have been very busy this fall with building a hay shed, new fencing, cleaning up land for new pastures, calving, and working cattle! I documented most of the excitement so I can share what we have been up to!
Calving started September 17th and finished around October 6th. Our calf crop consists of 4 heifers and 4 bull calves. There are three Hereford x Black Angus heifers and one Black Angus heifer. We have one purebred registered Black Angus bull calf born (AI Sire Remedy), one Hereford x Black Angus bull calf, and two commercial Black Angus bull calves. The purebred calf will be kept a bull and will be available as a prospect while the other three bull calves will be castrated. We may have some of the heifers available, but will make a decision closer to weaning. Below are some photos I snapped during calving season!
The hay shed was completed in November after what felt like months of work. Dad (Jimmy), Ryan (my husband), and Eric (our friend) worked on it almost every weekend. We were all very excited to see the end results and couldn’t wait for our hay to arrive. Our peanut hay arrived in December just in time for winter feeding to begin!
As soon as calving is over, it is time to start thinking about breeding. First, we start by having our bull examined by the veterinarian. This exam is called a breeding soundness exam (conducted yearly) and it consists of a visual exam (eyes, feet, body condition, soundness, etc.), scrotal circumference measurement, and semen quality check. This exam lets us know if our bull is ready for breeding season. The only thing the exam cannot check for is libido- it is important to watch the bull once he is turned out to ensure he is interested in the cows and doing his job. Our new young herd sire, Boomer was checked in late October and he passed with flying colors! Boomer was also given his yearly vaccines while he was caught for the vet.
Next, it is time to prepare the cow herd for breeding. About a month prior to breeding (in November for us) we round up the brood cows and vaccinate them. We also check their body condition, weigh them, and make sure everything is good with them. Cows are given a modified-live vaccine which helps protect them and the next calf against respiratory and reproductive diseases.
Boomer was turned in with the cows on December 11th so we can start calving in September and stay on schedule. We will leave him in with the cows 2-3 months to ensure all the cows are bred. If all goes well, we will have our first set of registered Hereford calves next fall! We will be expecting a total of 11 calves (four being Herefords).
To wrap up 2016, we needed to start processing calves since they are coming up on 3 months of age. Calves were weighed, vaccinated, and castrated right before Christmas this year!
I hope you enjoyed catching up with us and seeing photos of our growing herd! We hope you had a Merry Christmas and want to wish you a Happy New Year!