Monday, August 17, 2009

Our Cattle...

What have we been up to you ask... Yes... We have been diversifying our livestock venture. We have been talking about getting a few cows for some time. We have contacted local farmers and asked to purchase a few cows. All the locals have blown us off and told us to go to the auction. The pictures above are the two calves, the dark brown heifer and tan steer. The cow number 10 is now Daisy, with her steer calf.
I have been to the auction and was very disappointed in the quality of the stock. The cows were ancient with horrible udders or look as if they had not calved in years. I spotted a couple of young heifers that caught my eye, but they went for prices beyond our simple means.
Finally we came across a young fella advertising in a local Bulletin who had some tame cows for sale. We loaded up on Saturday afternoon and traveled 75 miles to check them out. I was only looking for two cows, but was talked into three. The cows are bred back to an Angus bull, two have calves by their side and the Angus cow just weaned a heifer calf. The young man who owned the cows had kept 4 of the Angus's daughters and they caught our eye right off the bat. So, we came home with 5 cattle. Three cows and two calves. One calf is a bull and the other a heifer.
Before we unloaded the bull, I had my first experience at castrating a bull. With the help of a wonderful neighbor, Buddy Pegeas, he told me how to cut him. I have banded lots of goats and had experience cutting pigs as a kid, but had not cut a bull calf. He is probably 200 plus pounds and before we unloaded him from the trailer, caught him, but a sheep halter on him and neutered him. We also gave him some antibiotics, vaccinated him and ear tagged him. We also caught the heifer and vaccinated and ear tagged her. She was actually the hardest to catch and a bit crazy. She gave me a run for my money, but we did what needed to be done.

The black cow above is Beauty and the picture with the small herd has the three cows and their two calves pictured.
The calves were sired by a Brahman bull and the steer looks mostly Brahman. His mom looks like a Beef Master, which has a lot of Brahman. The cream colored cow looks like a Charlas mix and the black cow looks mostly Angus. All three cows are very gentle and loaded with no problem. We are rotating them behind the goats and they are enjoying the lush pasture. We hope to put the steer in the freezer next year. We hope to not have to deal with purchasing a bull until next fall. Our choice of bulls will be an Angus.
Here in Alabama, the Brahman cross is very popular. The heat tolerance and big calves are nice, but the pure Brahman has problems with prolapses and the bulls produce huge calves which can cause problems with calving. Everyone loves the Angus bulls and we hope to put a nice prime steer in the freezer down the road.
We have been wanting to add some cattle to the farm, but had trouble getting anyone to take us seriously. I guess if you do not want to buy a bunch of them, don't bother us. We do not plan to have more then 10 cows with calves at any one time. This will give us some diversity. If the goat prices go down, we sell beef. It is a chance to see how they do and see if we like them.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Summer is almost over...

It has been a hot, wet summer and we are about ready for fall. The goats are starting to come into heat and the bucks are getting noisy. We have a weaned bottle baby looking for a new home. His name is Little Bit O Honey. He is pictured to the left. He is white with a bit of tan on him head and blue eyed. He is dehorned and wethered (neutered). He is very friendly and will be a bit larger then the Nigerian. Email us at or call at 334-327-9252. He is priced at $60. He will make a great pet and even knows his name.

Above and to the right is the garden and my sweet corn. We did not get a lot, but I was able to can what we did get in spite of the corn worms. We will for sure get the garden in earlier before the really hot and wet weather. The worms were really bad and dust with 7 dust to prevent the corn worms.
I had a second planting of corn, but all the rain ruined it. It got the fungus and did not amount to much more then goat and sheep feed. The livestock enjoyed eating the stalks and what little ears there were. We do have a few water melons about ready and a few green beans that did not get drowned. We are going to add fill to the garden spot or decide where to move it to higher ground.
The picture to the right is of two of my Icelandic ewes with their lambs. Havvah is on the left with her ram lamb sired by The Trump. Sarah is on the right with her lamb ewe also sired by The Trump. The sheep are doing well in spite of all the humidity and rain. These two are very tough parasite resistant ewes as well and pass that onto their lambs.
Alabama summers are brutal and if everyone makes it through June, July and August, the rest of the year is a breeze. The fall and winter in Alabama is great and what we live for. We will be making a trip up to Michigan again this fall and bringing back more Icelandic Sheep and some Icelandic Semen. We also plan to shear the Icelandics the second week of October.
Enough for now...