I keep the cattle on pasture as much as I feel like I can. Feel. We play it by ear. I don’t want to pamper my cows but I also don’t think it’s good for them to be out in rain on a 33 degree night when the temperature is dropping. Especially when it’s so easy to just open a gate and stand up a temporary fence so they can be warm and dry in the barn. I am also concerned for the pasture itself. Plus, it’s no fun walking way out in the pasture to check cows when it’s sleeting and the wind is blowing. Let’s save the farmer (Julie) a little trouble.
Saturday’s forecast keeps changing from 3-5″ of snow to half an inch of rain and back again. They can’t seem to decide. Either way the cows will come in Friday evening. No soupy pastures. No cold, muddy cows.
Take a look at the picture above. That’s fresh ground. The cows are always moving to fresh ground. There are good root systems under the standing grasses, plenty of stuff above ground…we don’t let it get all trampled, manured and soupy. It is getting torn up around the mineral feeder though. That’s on me. For the most part, we are adding manure without degrading the forage stand. That’s a big part of the plan to move cows in before the storm.
Please understand, this is not a prescription. The world is full of cattle living life outdoors. This is just us doing what we are doing this weekend. I’m not telling you how to do it. I’m making a judgement call and a note in my journal. “On January 30 we took the cows to the barn because of weather.”
Friday morning or Friday evening I have to find time to move a dozen or so square bales of hay to the cattle barn and a half dozen bales of straw. There is no loft in the cattle barn. Note to self: Add “Build a loft in the cattle barn” in May to the year’s work list. Also add “Cut wood for loft with sawmill” in April/May and “Cut trees for sawmill” in February.
Saturday the cows and I will be indoors. They will be chewing cud. I working my way through a small stack of books and a big cave in Minecraft.