The farm in February
This winter, we’ve had thirteen Angus calves and one Wagyu already. I’m amazed how much work it is keeping up with birthing, tagging, genetics, and everything else. I’m not sleeping well at all, and my 5am coffee is putting me to sleep!
To me, the animals are worth it. Being around cows makes me happy.
Here’s our most recent Angus baby, born this week.
There’s a coyote around lately who’s got my number.
It’s happened several times. I hear him howling outside the house around midnight and don’t want him messing with the calves. So I go outside with my night vision goggles on. I look everywhere, but I can’t see anything. There’s literally nothing out there. So, I go back inside. As soon as I lay down and turn out the light, there he is—right outside my window—howling again!
No wonder I’m not getting any sleep!
A calf shed for keeping cool
Right before the calves started coming, I built a calf house to keep the babies cool in summer and warm in winter. The design is my own. It’s got 6″ of insulation on the roof and all the sides. We had some old cedar barn wood so I used that for the siding and reused a galvanized roof from the old shed.
You can sort of see it in this photo at the far end of the field. There’s a brave calf laying down inside!
The calves wouldn’t go near the shed initially, until mom rubbed on it. Typical! Right now, I’m putting hay in it just for the babies. There’s a 26″ bar at the entrance that stops moms from getting in.
Calf house part two
Cal Poly did some research about providing shade for cows using flat-roofed shelters with hay on the roof to provide insulation. They figured out that cows don’t care about the building, they just like to stand in the shade of the building.
My plan is to build a bigger calf house for the summer. First I need to figure out where the sun is from 1-4 in the summer so I can position it for the most shade. I also want to put misters in it and make it deeper, so the moms can’t get to the hay at all.
It might sound like a lot of work, but the babies don’t know to get out of the heat. I want them to be as comfortable and happy as possible.
Now if I could just get some sleep, I’d be comfortable too!