Sunday, August 31, 2014

Cow math

90lbs of hay = 2.5 cow days
18 cows =  540 cow days per month
= 216 bales a month

6 months of no forage (have to keep the cows off the wet grass so their hooves don't cut up the sod) = 1296 bales, or 58 tons of hay.

figure 3,000 lbs/acre for hay.  38.6 acres of grass to produce 58 tons of hay

Figure 40lbs of corn silage per cow per day = 1200lbs /month
for 20 cows = 24,000lbs/month or 12 tons/month
20 cows for six months = 72 tons of silage
roughly 20 tons of silage per acre of corn
4 acres or corn is the maintenance diet of the cows.

hmmm.. but don't want to run out of food.  Figure 10% for spoilage, and maybe another 20% to have some extra.  Can always sell hay to the horse people....

so I'm using roughly 50 acres to support my 20 cows.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Rescued animals

This is pumpkin
I do love animals; that's one of the reasons I run a farm.  And I do try my best to rescue as many animals as I can, mostly from the local shelter.

For reasons I've never been clear on, black cats get the short end of the stick in the shelter.  People just don't pick them.  Even black kittens are a hard sell, and so when I have an opening for a barn cat I actually select the black cats first, which is how I got this handsome fellow, Pumpkin.  (who I also called orange, because he had an orange collar when I first got him)

This cat is quite the character.  He's pretty clearly the smartest of the bunch, and he's working on how to figure out door knobs right now.  I'm watching him walk up to a door, stand on his hind legs and try to turn the knob.  His paws don't really work very well for that, and he's been trying for a few days know, and if I had levers on my doors I'm sure he'd be opening them at his whim.

this cat is big on doors.  He loves to go into the bathroom vanity, i've been woken on several nights to the banging of the doors in the bathroom.  I'll flip on the light and he'll be sitting there.  "I'm not doing anything"...  right, pumpkin.

He's a lot friendlier than some of the cats, but they do have their place.  On my farm the cats patrol the crawl space under the house, and the area around the chicken run and the front yard. They are also very good at getting into the cracks and crevices in the tool storage sheds and keep those vermin-free.  They're the terror of the local shrew community, and the local crows and ravens hate them, too.

After a couple of close brushes with a big owl they tend to stay under something when they're out, but I fear that I'll lose one to a hawk or eagle one of these days.

To keep the local birds from getting decimated I do put bells on the collars; it doesn't seem to affect their rodent catches, but the birds know what that jingle means.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

slow down and play with the puppies!

 I forget sometimes how much fun puppies are.  and then you have a litter and they are just the cutest things.  
 All puppy growls and bright eyes and energy.

 And they're so funny when they're tired.  One minute they're wrestling and then over they go.  Out like a light.

Love puppies.  Sorry to see them go, but it's really fun to spread the joy that way, too.  Selling pups is a happy time.