Pam: I know you probably think I’m waaaay too sentimental over the cows/calves , but as a city girl, I’m asking,, that one cow that wouldn’t leave the pasture, she eventually gets to be with her calf again at the new place?
No. When calves are weaned, they are weaned. Many ranchers sell their calves soon after weaning. We, however, run them to yearlings, meaning we keep them until they are over a year old. They may run into their mothers again in a different pasture, but, 99% of calves act like they do not know who their mother is past the point of weaning. Momma cows usually forget their calves as well when their milk is dried up. Animals expect to wean themselves or their offspring. That’s nature. If older calves stayed around suckling, they reduce the chances of their younger sibling. Energy needed to produce milk is not directed to the fetus the mommas are growing. They’ll have smaller babies and they won’t be in as good a condition either. We get sentimental. Honestly, they don’t.
Shauna: How is your pigeon?
One day, good ol’ Utah disappeared. It was our first cold storm, so I don’t know if that encouraged him to head on home to Utah or what. There was no feathers, no dead bird, and he didn’t leave a trail… I prefer to think he’s back home!
Judy: What do you do to keep your chickens warm in the winter and do they like to be out in the pen in the cold during the day?
I have a heat lamp in the coop in the winter. I also have windows, so there’s solar heat coming in throughout the day, and it’s pretty nice in there. I do need to replace a window… and that’s on one of my lists of things to do! My chickens free range, and cold and rain doesn’t bother them in the least! Deep snow does, they won’t wade through it! They’ll use ruts or tracks and then by scratching and pecking create a wider area to range in. We leave plenty of ruts in the snow, so they go just about as many places in winter as they do summer!
Karen: My dog, love of my life, passed away last November..broke my heart for sure. Will eventually get another pup soon, someday! Can’t live without the love and devotion they give me. What a pretty baby you have, causing trouble, for sure
Karen, my condolences. How do they rip our hearts apart but make them fuller at the same time?
Sandy (and others!): Q: What have you decided to name Puppy?
She’s still going around with no name. Don’t worry, I’ll share when I finally decide.
Carole: Tell us a little about the weather and when you expect the first real snow. Would love some storm pictures if and when you have storms.
Well, we’ve already had our first snow… and the mountain has had quite a few storms. I’m hoping for a new toy of some kind… maybe a GoPro so I can get time lapse photos of storms. We do get some doozies! Traditionally our first good snow is on Halloween, making costumes unnecessary because kids are wearing snowpants…
Kay: How is the amount of water taken out of the creeks for irrigation controlled ? Or is controlled ?
Water for irrigation is controlled. The job is called “ditch rider” and they drive around checking everyone’s headgates, which are gates that can be lowered or raised to regulate the amount of flow into your ditch. They also look at a weir, which is a measuring device to show how many cubic feet is flowing through a ditch. The other major impact is water rights. If someone has water rights from 1905, they get preference over someone who has water rights from 1965.
Pam: What happened to Colt?
Colt’s story deserves his own post… I won’t give him just a sentence or two.
Joanne: When you go out on a trail do you ride from the ranch or take the horses in a truck to get near the cows, and then ride ‘em down?
In the 33 years I’ve lived here… things have changed. We’d get up at 3 am, eat a hearty breakfast, and sometimes ride out to certain close pastures to gather cattle. On occasion, if the pasture was far away, we would load our horses in the Big Red Truck, 6 or 7 horses standing sideways in the red truck we use for hauling grain now, and drive 30 mph to get there. Now, with big Dodge trucks and horse trailers, we load our 6 horses easily (no looking for high banks to back up to use as a loading ramp) and we cruise up the mountain like we’re not pulling anything! It’s Very Nice! Plus we all fit in the cab, instead of riding on TOP of the cab… Depending on the pasture, we can drive to the “back side” and gather in the direction we are going to head the cows. That’s why my dogs don’t know how to gather… because we drive the cattle in the right direction and a dog would run miles to get to the back side in our pastures! Sometimes we have to ride horses to the back side. Someone will have to return or ride along to bring the trucks and trailers back down.
Tony: Why did Daniel choose an Aussie? I have Aussies but wondered why he choose Tuff of (over) your prefered breed?
You know, the strange thing about kids is they have their own minds. It amazes me sometimes. Daniel doesn’t like to read books or do home improvement like me either. I just don’t get it. Daniel loved Boomer. The only other dog I’ve seen him rave over was a Kelpie pup. He wanted a pup and I didn’t have one. Besides those comments, I don’t know. Kids are weird. (and I know this Aussie breeder and she has great dogs!)
Gina: My husband just got back from hunting in Colorado and the rancher told him that he as a lead cow trained to come when he whistles which brings all the others along so that moving them from place to place is pretty easy. He is now training a second leader because the other one is getting older. Was he giving the city kid a line or can that really be done?
Oh, it definitely can be done. Cows are like people… some have the temperament to be in the lead, others simply like not to think too much and would rather just follow. If you can get the lead cow “trained”, which usually isn’t too hard, cows remember going certain ways… then other cows follow. Movement creates movement. Get some cows going, others start watching and soon follow. Long trail drives from Texas to Kansas often had lead steers (don’t have to worry about calves that way), some made the trip multiple times according to legend. If you move your cattle often, they learn to expect to watch for that cow to lead them to the next pasture. It’s like calling cattle. They learn they’re getting fed or going to better pasture… watch out, here they come!
Okay, there’s a couple more questions, but they deserve bigger answers. I’ll cover them in the next day or two. or three. maybe four. We’re getting ready for the Harvest Dinner fundraiser for the library, and I’ll be busy the next few days! Sorry to split things up… but it’s the best way to do it for me!
Thanks for the thoughtful questions! I love you guys…