Hubby and I spent most of February tearing out our old loading pen. It was well over 50 years old and was worn out. Instead of repairing like we normally do we decided to start over with this section of the pen. The far end with the working head chutes and calf pens are on the opposite end and were redone three years ago.
This is the working part of the pen we completed three years ago.
Head chute for medical and castrating. We consider this one of the best investments we’ve made in regards to working our cattle. Hubby is less likely to get hurt, less stress on the calves and our daughter is learning to use it too!
The boards have been torn off the posts and cut up for kitchen woodstove firewood. We recycle as much as possible. The old posts will be cut up for the big woodstove.
We’ve rehung some gates, tightened up some posts, and put in some posts. Now, we wait for our lumber to arrive which has been an unexpected delay. Most of the private lumber mills in the area will only cut for commercial folks. Here’s some pictures of the work we’ve done so far and I’ll post more as we get the work completed! I’ve definitely used muscles that have been lazy for some time!!!
Fence posts dug, posts placed, Qickrete poured and hardened.
Heavy equipment used to set some gate posts that we didn’t replace.
Rotted off gate posts at scale house.
Area of most work yet to be done.
Some of the existing gates that we will use again.
We rehung these gates after we replaced the posts.
Generator used to drill the hinge holes in the posts.
Kubota tractor we used to drill the holes for the posts.
We used our milkcans to haul water for the Quikrete
The Massey Ferguson was used to haul in the new fence posts and hauling the pallet of Quikrete.
This winter has been much, much colder than normal for Virginia, I think. I can’t remember having a whole week of negative temperatures in our area. We haven’t had an abundance of snow like I thought we would have (knock on wood) but the wind and cold temperatures have taken a toll.
Two weeks ago we lost one of my favorite cows. She was a fifth generation cow raised on the farm and though she was a headache until she had her first calf. She was kept for breeding stock along with six other heifers and would lead those other girls through every hole in the fences or make her own wherever and when ever she wanted. Hubby threatened to send her to market so many times.
Grace and her calf grazing.
Grace with her first calf to survive.
Grace with the herd.
She lost her first two calves because her udders were so large. Her great, great, great, grandmother was a holstein dairy cow and they can sure produce some milk. All of her daughters were good milkers but Grace’s first two babies only lived about four days and we think starved because they couldn’t get the udders in their mouth and Grace was too unruly to pen up in a shed to milk. We had planned last year to send her to market with the fall calves but something happened and she never made it on the truck. She delivered a beautiful black angus heifer in early September but it took a toll on Grace. The calf was sucking her to death and she lost a lot of weight but kept that baby of hers well fed. During the big snow week before last, we think one of the other cows may have butted her down and she couldn’t get back up and froze during the night. Hubby found her the next morning. That’s the luck of farming beef cattle! Just when you think you might get two steps ahead of the game, your forced to take three steps back!
This is the blog for our little farm in Skagit county. Here we have Shetland sheep and Nigerian Dwarf goats. In addition we have donkeys, llamas, cattle, pigs, chickens, geese, and peafowl. The blog describes the weekly activities here.