Monday, May 16, 2011

Contented Cows

The past  few sunny days the cows have been allowed into the lush upper pasture all day, making them very happy.

It  has made me a bit nervous, however (worrywart mom that I am.)  If cattle eat too much fresh young growth, especially alfalfa and  legumes, there is a risk of bloat, a life-threatening emergency.  Our pasture is probably fairly low-risk, being mostly grasses with a small amount of clover mixed in, but I still worry.

In order to ease my mind, I make sure that the cows have eaten some hay before going to the pasture (both for the fiber and to reduce their appetite.) I wait until the dew has dried and I  got them an anti-bloat mineral block. They seem to be adapting to the new diet very well.
Jitterbug alternates between racing around the pasture and resting up for the next frolic.
LaFonda has been giving 3 1/2 to 4 gallons of milk a day, not including the milk her calf, Lindyhop, drinks.  Her milk production may increase now that she is eating all this grass, so I hope her growing calf's appetite keeps up with her production. It is hard enough to use 4 gallons a day.
Lindyhop is brilliant white and as gentle as he looks!   There are some studies of cattle whorls (the little swirl of hair on the  forehead where the nap of the fur changes direction, creating a cowlick) that indicate  that where the whorl occurs is correlated to the temperament of the animal.  Cattle with the whorl  above eye level, or no whorl at all were more easily agitated and those with whorl between the eyes or below eye level tended to be calmer. Lindy's distinct whorl is right between his eyes and his calm nature follows the rule.

Actually, all of our cows' whorls are between their eyes and they are all pretty  mellow. But then, they really can't have much to complain about, pampered beasts! 

7 comments:

Becky said...

I just have to say that Lindyhop is the most stunning calf! His coloring and his eyes are just amazing.
I hope the cows will do well on their new, lush grass.

Allison at Novice Life said...

Love the names for the calves!

I have done extensive reading about the whorls being telling of a horses personality too! It is so fascinating to me. Not just the whorls but all kinds of characteristics on their face.

stpumc said...

I just bought a memoir called "The Dirty Life" about a New Yorker who falls in love and starts a farm... I read half of it in one day! You can tell where my mind is... out to pasture with the cows already!

Bethany Ringdal said...

oops, that was me...
-Bethany

Susan said...

I couldn't put that book down either-stayed up reading it all night in one swoop. I am getting way too old for all-night reading sessions!

Cheri said...

Lindy is stunning!
And looks as sweet and calm as you claim he is.

katiegirl said...

Love the pictures! Lindy steals the show with his stunning good looks! Those eyelashes!