We doubled our hoofprints Wednesday. We started with two Jersey heifers and their calves and added four Shorthorn heifers. And it looks like we’re going to go ahead and pick up a couple more. (Update two days later: now 6 shorthorns.) All registered. All fat. Each weighing more than any two of my little Jerseys combined. Ugh.
These girls know how to eat. Our Jerseys will look right past second cutting alfalfa. The Shorthorns licked it right up. It was pretty amazing.
Once they were full of hay we opened up a new strip of pasture and turned the girls out with the Jerseys. I have to say, I was a little nervous. Each of the heifers had a strongly negative experience with our electric fence before we turned them out and had been in electric fence previously but…still nervous. So far so good.
Needless to say they went right to work eating everything in sight. It was late afternoon before we put them out and their bellies were full of hay so I had little fear of bloat. Everybody seemed to get along. I only had to stop them from pacing the fence once. Just me in a lawn chair with a camera. They seem gentle. Not pets but they don’t mind me being in the same zip code with them. Big bellies, big butts, short legs. They will mature a little on the heavy side for our ideal and they aren’t specifically bred for performance on fescue but…good looking cows.
So. Now we’re hanging on for dear life. Rolling through spring pasture. Huge, heavy hoofprints pushing organic material deep into the pastures. Pretty cool. I need them to really abuse a section of pasture or two but I have to be careful not to stress them. They’ve been on a hot feed in a feedlot for the past few months. Grass-only is quite the change. Further, we’re having trouble keeping May (the skinny Jersey) in condition. She’s doing better right now but she’s not as much of an agressive eater as the other 7 cows.
Wish us luck and feel free to offer advice.