Its been a while sense we have posted last. Molly’s calf is a bull calf -Deluge Louie. He is a spicy little guy, lots of spunk. Lack of posting has been to events happening at A Rusty Knoll. As we are learning farm life is a challenge and there are lots of hard decisions.
Malie’s calf Magnolia is doing great but she is a bottle calf. Twice a day I feed her a bottle, very time consuming. If I only knew then what I know now… Mom and calf are thriving so all good there. In a few weeks Maggie will be 4 months old and I can go down to 1 bottle a day thru the bitter cold of winter.
October brought preg tests. We tested 6 cows. When the results came back we were dumbfounded. Not a one- 0- zip- zilch. Rebels only job and it was a complete failure. We contacted a reproductive vet and had a farm call. Well our A2A2 expensive bull from Connecticut is not a herd bull. His scrotum is too small in circumference for this duty. A Rusty Knoll has no bull, a missed breeding season and the next breeding season quickly approaching.
While the vet was out we had Sunshine the A2A2 cow we bought checked again. This vet also said she is not able of reproducing because the ovaries are enlarged and the uterus has its own problems. Hope was to be able to flush her eggs but its is a lost cause. Sunshine meets her maker next Monday. She is such a beautiful animal, such a waste. Heartbreaking.
Back to bull problems. No bull so do we AI? We have done AI and its not my favorite. Numerous times thru the cattle chute, shots, cedars, vet appointments, cold weather… NOPE With that decision the hunt for another bull is on. Most are located in the far east coast 1500+ miles away. Anything coming from the west of us has a hard time with our fescue grass. Winter storms are vast and travel would need to be perfectly timed. Pennsylvania here we come! Sweet William.
William had his quarantine time and was getting to report for work when he brook with shipping fever. Vet call more time off… Three days after he joined the ladies we found him punky, snot nosed, lying alone, looking ill. Pull him from woods and put in back at the welcome center/ aka sick bay. Vet called again but this time vet could not get to us we had to get William to the vet. Conclusion he ate acorns and plugged himself up. Yup open cows, alfalfa hay and he has to eat acorns:( Another 4 days in seclusion getting ready to let him out again when the State of MO vet calls. He did not have his TB test in PA before transport so that needs to be done. Another 6 days of seclusion. William returned to work Dec 20th and has been giving the ladies a run for their money. Molly took him on pawing at the ground and butting heads with him. He has his work cut out for him. Hoping to get caught up by Jan 30th on breeding.
We lost another mom, the oldest one Crystal. She has had health issues since she arrived at A Rusty Knoll and we had to weigh her suffering with leaving a calf orphaned. Culling is a hard decision but we believe is wise stewardship to not let an animal suffer. Rex her calf is sweet and has moved over to the finishing farm with Dustin and Rachel where he gets special treats.
The finishing farm has been another killer project. Wayne has devoted every spare minute to clearing, burning, fencing and adding water’s. It is so close yet so far away from being done. We are planting the reclaimed ground back to natural prairie grasses. Seed must be on the ground by February then that pasture is off line for the next for the next 14 months. With less pastures to graze we are selling the daughters of the older cows. Of coarse most of the calves we have had are heifers. Too many girls, not enough boys.
Looking forward to 2020 and big/ huge projects being behind us. Members of the American Milking Devon association were asked to submit photos for the 2020 calendar. Wayne had a great time with this project. We have 4 photos in it. www.cafepress.com/gilley to find the calendar. Many blessings from A Rusty Knoll to you and your family.