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The bulls and the bees

The purchase of a heifer bull stirs excitement for next season

Sometimes opportunities come up and you just have to jump on them. We have been hauling our cows to pasture in a two-horse trailer, just waiting for an opportunity to purchase a bigger one. Then a friend showed Gregory an ad. The used trailer was in rough shape but the price was good, so Gregory loaded up and drove 10 hours to bring it home. It needs a little bit of work but nothing that can’t be done.

Joseph is growing so fast! He really enjoys the animals. The warmer weather has made it so he can go out and help do some of the chores. He even got to help Gregory make a load of chop for the cows. He loves watching the cows and petting the horses.

In late February the Mitchells delivered our River Bridge Hereford heifers. They are a very pretty set and we are excited to calve them out and see how they do in our program.

In early March we went to the Ward Red Angus bull sale in Saskatoon. We have been looking for a heifer bull and have gone to several sales this year. We did very well and managed to purchase a nice Red Angus yearling bull. We are sure he is going to do a very good job for us.

Ready for calving

The cows are getting closer to calving. On March 5 we sorted a few girls off and put them up close with a lean-to and a shed so that they can get out of the weather. The rest of the herd is out in the stubble field during the day and locked up at night in the back corral with bedding and a windbreak.

We use flax straw as a base for the bedding. The processor tears it apart and fluffs it up to make it a very cozy bed, but the biggest advantage to the flax straw is that it does not wick up the moisture. Our facility doesn’t drain very well. Wet calves means sickness, so we’ve been using the flax straw to keep them out of the wet. We put a good layer of flax straw down and then maybe a layer of barley or wheat straw, depending on the area and the need. This gets them up off the ground without their bed getting saturated from the bottom up.

On March 8 we had a 67th birthday celebration for Gregory’s mom, Barbara. We had a nice supper with neighbours and friends.

Gregory and John have been fixing up on our new stock trailer. They cut out the few rotten boards in the floor and replaced them. They also cut up pieces of sheet metal and welded it to the inside wall at the bottom were it had rusted out. It is coming along very nicely and will soon be a reliable trailer for us.

Calving season had a sad start. On the morning of the March 16 we pulled a dead bull calf out of a heifer. It was a malpresentation. The front legs were both back and as hard as she tried, the little heifer couldn’t have him alone. We couldn’t save the calf but we did save the heifer. We doctored her with some Bio-Mycin to ward off any infection. With any luck she should heal up, breed back, and have a nice Angus/Hereford calf for us next year.

The next day Joseph and I discovered our first Angus/Hereford calf of the year. A second-calver that we bought from River Bridge last year had a beautiful black white face bull calf. He was up and nursing almost immediately and shortly afterward was running and bucking with his mother chasing after him. On March 20 a River Bridge heifer had a nice little Hereford heifer. Spring is officially here, so bring on the baby girls!

About the author

Contributor

Heather Eppich is a young former Idaho rancher building a new farm and family with her husband and young son, near Handel, Sask. Contact her at: [email protected]

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