The day before we were to move the cows, we got word from the row crop farmer that leases the rest of the farm that we could graze his millet field as he wasn’t going to be able to get another cutting off of it.
I turned the cows into the field, which was about 6 acres, and they went to town. It’s funny watching cows go into an area like that. The flow across the paddock back and forth like ripples on a pond. They are always moving trying to be the first one to that bite of good food. They really enjoyed the treat and it was a last hurrah before we loaded them the next day.
Adam and Spork helped load the cows, staying on the outside of the paddock. Miguel and I went inside with the cows and pushed them onto the trailer. Well first we tried to push them ourselves. That didn’t work. Then we tried rearranging the cattle panels to make more of a chute. That didn’t work. Then we tried a few other iterations until finally Miguel said, let’s just get an extra panel and push then with the panel between us. Bingo! That was the way and how we’ll do it going forward. We were able to get 12 cows on the first load, 13 on the second load, and 15 on the last load all while cutting the time to load in half, and in half again.
This was with our new (to us) 24′ stock trailer. The best we’ve ever had with our old trailer was 11 cows and they were packed like sardines. The new trailer cut out at least one trip and probably two so it was a success. The only problem is, it doesn’t fit my truck. I’ve creased the tailgate in a couple of places where it rubbed. We’ll be cutting off the current mounting for the gooseneck and making a new one as soon as we can this winter. Luckily the cows should be home all winter so we should have time to get it done.
Once we had the cows on the trailer, we took them to our main farm and offloaded them into our corral. We then worked them one by one into the head gate where we weighed them on our new scales, checked their body condition, their ear tags, and castrated them if need be since we had new calves born on the leased farm.
Once we’d processed a cow, they were turned into the paddock to start grazing. Once the entire trailer load was processed, we went back to get another load and wash, rinse, repeat. Everything was the same, except for our new little calves, but that is our next post.