Saturday, January 8, 2011

Winter Chores

Daily activities on the farm look very different depending on the season. During the winter, chores are done as quickly as possible and major outdoor projects are put on the "things to do in the spring" list.

On a daily basis, the cattle, pony, dogs and cats are fed. In the winter, when the cows are not out on pasture they stay around the barns. We have three small pastures of about 3 acres each, with access to water in the barns. The cattle are divided into three groups, and each group of cattle has access to fresh water, shelter, and fresh hay that is grown on our farm.

Group #1 consists of about 34 pregnant cows. These cows need a lot of hay to keep their energy up to stay warm and gestate.
Group #2 is made up of the 32 newly-weened calves. These calves are half grown now and have plenty of space to eat their hay and wander around. They sleep in barns on beds of corn-fodder (stalks and leaves).
Group #3 is the group of 16 steers and heifers that is being finished for harvesting. These range in size from the animals ready to go any day, to the ones that will not be harvested until May. These animals enjoy free access to hay, and a limited access to corn grown on our farm.

Twice a week, all the animals get fresh fodder bails in the barns for bedding to keep them dry and warm. Bryce's dad keeps track of the day to day chores for the cattle (while Bryce finish's his last year of commuting to Illinois to work as a Guidance Counselor), and on weekends we tackle the bigger jobs like fixing fence, barns and sending Bryce up the silo to adjust the corn auger. There are always a thousand things to be done on the weekends and we are so thankful for Bryce's mom and dad for their farming expertise and willingness to help!

The girls also have daily chores, feeding the more domesticated animals...cats & dogs. They are also in charge of making sure the bird feeders are kept full and bringing the mail in each day.

When everything is complete, you would find us warming up in front of our corn-burning stove.

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