Contented Cows…That is how I think of our cows. All year long at some point in the day the cows are laying down, contentedly chewing their cud. It is a sign that they have had enough to eat and drink and now is the time to lounge.
Our herd started with Fawn, a cow that we used for milk. She was half Angus, half Jersey/Holstein. She gave 3 gallons of creamy milk a day, which we used in the house and fed the extra to pigs. She also gave several calves, including 2 heifers: Malegra, born in May during turkey season, and Switzel, born in August during haying season. Fawn and Switzel have passed on, but Malegra is still on the farm, expecting a calf in September.
Up to this point we have used the AI company, Genex, to breed our cows. It lets us not have to house a bull. When we see the cows in heat, we call Genex, and they get the cows bred. And as long as the cows don’t come back into heat, we assume that in 9 months we will see a calf.
Our cows live outdoors year round. May-November they graze our 40 acres of pasture. They are rotated to new areas as needed, usually weekly. This lets them spread their manure on their own. From December-April we feed them untreated hay that we buy off the field from a neighbor or that the Bros harvest from some of our fields. They are fed from hay feeders in a field that is close to the barn. We use about 800 bales of hay a year. This makes our cows grass and hay fed.
On really cold windy days (wind chill below 0F) we do let the cows get under the eaves of the barn, which works like a 3-sided shelter. Because they are outdoors, they grow the hair that they will need to live in the outdoors. And as spring comes, they shed that hair. All in all, they enjoy being out side, eating, drinking, and lounging being the contented cows they are!