Sorry, boys. The party’s over. Breeding season is at an end and the bulls are now facing 10 months of celibacy before their next hurrah.
We do open breeding with our cows which is where you put the bull in with the herd and let him have at it. The other breeding method is controlled breeding where you only allow the bull in with select females. You’d do this if you are breeding for certain traits or are looking to raise and sell show animals. We aren’t and open breeding is a much easier option.
The bulls joined the herds back in July and had their two month fling. A cow’s gestation period is 10 months so the calves should be born between the end of April and June. Then the bulls go back in and the cycle begins again.
I was pretty nervous about working the bulls. Things went well last time, but we were taking them to the females. This time we were removing them so I was worried they’d be a bit more testy. Bulls and boars are two animals you don’t want to mess with. Thankfully both of our bulls are calm and they cooperated perfectly. We didn’t have any trouble loading them on to the trailer. Then Ryan carted them down to Lundale where they joined the steers.
Today was Thursday which means chicken slaughter day. The only difference was that Brian and Caleb had a big job this afternoon so they arrived at 6:00 a.m. Ryan, Steve and I were out catching chickens at 5:30. In the dark. That was fun. Ryan had a headlamp. I meant to bring mine back to the farm, but forgot it in Delaware. Yes, I own a headlamp. It’s awesome. It has a strobe light setting. But actually the dark helped us out. The chickens couldn’t see and were still half asleep. It was probably the easiest chicken catching we’ve done.
After all the birds had been nabbed and caged, I made breakfast for everyone, Brian and Caleb included. I figured we were all up early and needed a good start to the day. Nothing fancy. Just scrambled eggs. But they were just what we needed to really get going.
I kind of like being up early because the farm is so beautiful first thin in the morning. I always get the best photos then. One of these days I’ll take my real camera out. I keep saying that. Maybe it really will happen soon. Until then, phone photos will have to do.
Ryan and I headed down to Lundale to move the steers to a new pasture while Steve started on chores. I helped him finish up when we got back and Ryan set to work making check lists for us for next week. He’s getting married on Saturday and will be gone on his honeymoon. Steve and I will be on our own for a whole week! I’m sticking around Monday and Tuesday to help.
After that it was time to clean the chick brooders. For the last time! Cleaning the brooders is my least favorite chore. Chickens are gross, even when they are babies. The shed can just be shoveled out in between batches of chicks, but the brooders have to be scrubbed. It isn’t fun. But we moved our last batch of chicks from the brooders to the shed yesterday. Now the brooders are squeaky clean and will remain that way until next spring. Thank goodness!
Does anyone know what these seeds are? My boots and pants are covered in them after walking through the pastures. Whatever it is, it goes to seed this time of year because this is the first I’ve seen them.
Also, Modern Farmer has declared this week Goat Week. In honor of that, enjoy these photos of our sweet goats. I got to hang out with them today! We’ve been so busy I haven’t been able to spend much time with them. And, yes, that is a goat climbing a tree in the 2nd photo.