Category Archives: Cows

The New Year

Happy new year everyone! Things are going great, cold but great. I am so excited for this new year! lots of babies to born on the farm, and lots of things to do. The three baby goats are growing strong happy and healthy and FAST! way to fast!

Norman the cow goes into the butcher tomorrow, He has been a good steer and we have gave him a great life! I couldn’t be more happy with how fast and healthy he has grown and i am so thankful to have that meat for this coming year.

Chickens have all but stopped laying eggs so the the great chicken dispatch will be coming up shortly, And that will be even more wonderful meat for the up coming year. There are about 15 chickens, only 4 will be spared as they were just born this last fall.

 

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Top Animals for your homestead

We have been doing this for a full year now and still do not have everything down just yet but its a work in progress and its a fun one!! so here is my list of top animals for a smaller homestead, we have 12 acres so this list would work for 12 acres and under.

Chickens for eggs and for meat: Chickens are good for about two years, so the first spring you get them it should be that fall you should start getting eggs, you have lots to choose from when it comes to chickens  you have your Americana’s, your Rhode islands, your leghorns, the list goes on and on. if you have a rooster you can save some of your eggs and incubate them then you can have a turn over rate, if no rooster then you just eat the eggs wait for the next fall and butcher all your chickens, laying hens are a lot tougher then your broiler chickens, so you have two choices you can harvest the layers and use them for your soup stock or you can just keep them until they all retire . Now broilers you want to buy in the spring and then harvest that fall for the following spring because those are your meat birds and you do not want them to get very old at all. The older the bird the tougher. Chickens take up hardly any space and are really easy to care for. We just let our free range the whole farm and at night they tuck themselves in bed all we do is shut and lock the barn door!

Goats for milk and meat:  Now I am really in love with this, this has changed my whole out look on the homestead! If you don’t have alot of space this is where your meat and dairy goats come into play(And my latest adventure) You want to go with the smaller goats, Nigerian dwarfs, pygmy, Fainting goats, and your boer goats. Nigerians dwarfs are a dairy goat a very small and stocky goat, they produce about 3 to 5 cups of milk and unlike the bigger diary goats there milk is sweeter and has a way higher butter fat, same with the pygmy, now with the higher butter fat you get fuller way faster and stay full longer so if you have a family of 4 and you all drink a giant glass of goats milk in the morning you will not be able to eat the rest of the day! Trust me!! so i like the little cups of goats milk its just right for our family. Now fainting goats are a meat goat and they taste wonderful, same with your boer goats, these animals need some space but not a lot as long as you have lots of things for them to chew on and climb on they wont escape (all the time) and are really easy to care for. And a blast to watch!

Pigs: While pigs probably aren’t a great first animal for your homestead, once you are comfortable around livestock, they can be a great addition. Not only will they happily devour all the scraps, along with excess milk and whey from your dairy animals, they will convert it into the most delicious pork you have ever tasted.

Pigs are, however, a little more difficult to control and a bit more intimidating than your typical livestock. With their combination of brains and brawn, they rival goats in terms of escaping from fences. Loading them into a trailer for processing is no easy feat either! However, if you have a keen sense of adventure and want delicious pork for your table, pigs are an awesome addition to your homestead.

 

Ducks: Ducks are one of my favorite homestead animals! I find them endlessly entertaining. Although mine love the pond, they can be perfectly happy with a baby pool to splash in, although you will need to be prepared to dump and refill it at least twice a day! Ducks do not typically make much noise, with muscovy ducks being the quietest. They lay big eggs that are nutritious and wonderful for baking. They can also be processed for meat, much like a chicken.

So their you have it that is my list for the perfect small homestead animals.

 

 

Fall just might be here!

Oh sorry it’s been so long life has been crazy! Just a fast update! The leaves are starting to change and that crisp air is sinking in in the morning and of course it’s coffee and hot chocolate time! And as of today no more 70 and 80 degree days! 

The horses are in pasture and are frisky and happy as ever, the chickens have slowed down to 4 eggs a day along with molting lol the goats are all fat as they should all be having babies in November, Norman the cow is on a good corn regiment as he goes to slaughter in December. Around Halloween we are getting our two bred heffers. So exciting!!! God bless everyone and God bless this farm! 

Fall check list

On top of getting the camper loaded up and ready for hunting season, a lot has to be done on the farm! We turned water off  last week! And 2 weeks before that we got the last cutting of hay off the field!  (Thank god lol)

 
All the hay is stocked up in the barn to get us through winter. We pulled the horses out of one pasture and getting ready to put them in our other pasture. We have been feeding the cow lots of corn from the garden getting him ready for butcher in February. After all that things are cooling down fast we have to still deworm and give vaccinations to the horses, cows, and goats but I’m waiting for the first freeze and with my pregnant mare I have to wait 90 days from her bred date to worm her or give any shots, I don’t want anything to happen to that baby!! We have built more shelters for the goats as they will all have there babies in November. 

 
And at least I got the arena cleaned up and is ready to ride in! 

 We still need to buy a lot of trough heaters and heat lamps but for now we are pretty on schedule!! Just ready for some big elk hunting and then deer hunting !!!! 

Busy as a bee!

My sweet sweet husband has been back a full week now and as normal when he comes back it has been busy,busy, busy!!! We got the 8 foot deer fence up around the garden, got it all plowed and tilled and marked, now we are just waiting for our fruit trees and berries and they should be here any day now. With it being so warm I think this week we are going to go ahead and plant all our peas. 

 The big alfalfa feild is already coming in so fast thier shouldn’t be any reason to not get 4 cuttings this year. We managed to feed all the animals off of just one cutting last year because we lost the other two due to lots of rain( won’t let that happen again.) 

 It has been hours upon hours of fence getting things ready to bring on cows by the middle of summer and we are so excited! Our meat cow that we have been raising is growing good and getting bigger every day as big as a holsten will get that is 

 now it’s off for more farming adventures! 

The cow1

Norman is our Holstein calf,that will be our first ever meat cow that we have raised ourselves, he should be ready by fall this year we are hoping. as with all Holsteins he’s not a meat cow but a dairy cow so we will see how it turns out. Norman was a bottle feeder calf so he is super friendly and so funny his on going problem is he has no friends so he gets bored real easy, he has already ate one trough heater so I decided to donate one of the horses balls for Norman,  I put it in his water trough so he has something to play with well now the ball seems to always be escaping him. But he seems a lot happier with the ball for a friend.

Registering a brand

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Today was a big day in the Iron horse ranch world, We registered our brand!! yay us!! so exciting. So I thought I would explain a little about it.

Livestock branding is a technique for marking livestock so as to identify the owner. Originally, livestock branding only referred to a hot brand for large stock, though the term is now also used to refer to other alternative techniques such as freeze branding. Other forms of livestock identification include inner lip or ear tattoos, earmarking, ear tagging, and RFID tagging with a type of microchip. The semi-permanent paint markings used to identify sheep are called a paint or colour brand. In the American West, branding evolved into a complex marking system still in use today.

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We chose old school and went with the branding and freeze branding. Out here if you don’t have a brand on it chances are someone else is going to nab it up! Once you have chosen your brand you have to submit it into the department of agriculture in your area and send in your fee, you also have to choose where your going to place the brand on the animal you can choose the front right, front left, middle left or right side and rear left or right side and that is where your brand will have to be placed every time you brand! Makes selling animals a lot easier to as you can have a bill of sale but it is always nice to have a brand inspection done so you know your not buying someones stolen livestock! Once your application is ready and you have sent it in they will approve it and that’s that you are done I was amazed at how simple it really was! And now You have your own personal brand!

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Mini Cows,The Dexter

Dexter cattle are the smallest of the European cattle breeds, being about half the size of a traditional Hereford and about one third the size of a Friesian (Holstein) milking cow. They were considered a rare breed of cattle, until recently, but are now considered a recovering breed by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. The Dexter breed originated in Ireland.[1]

The Dexter breed originated in southwestern Ireland from which it was brought to England in 1882. The breed virtually disappeared in Ireland, but was still maintained as a pure breed in a number of small herds in England. The Dexter is a small breed with mature cows weighing between 600–700 pounds (270–320 kg) and mature bulls weighing about 1,000 pounds (450 kg). Considering their small size, the body is wide and deep with well-rounded hindquarters. Although usually black, a dark-red or dun Dexter is sometimes found. They are always single-coloured except for some very minor white marking on the udder or behind the navel. Horns are rather small and thick and grow outward with a forward curve on the male and upward on the female. The breed is suitable for beef or milk production, although individual herd owners often concentrated on growing either one or the other.[2]

The Dexter has always attracted attention because of its size, and it has sometimes been marketed as a novelty or ornamental breed. This practice has obscured the breed’s production value. Dexters are hardy, forage‑efficient cattle with excellent maternal qualities. As with other dual‑purpose breeds, the quantity of milk produced varies between strains; those strains that have had more dairy selection produce more milk, while those that have been selected for beef produce less. The milk produced is high in solids, making it ideal for butter and cheese production. Dexter beef is lean and high in quality. The small size of the carcass makes the breed an excellent choice for use in direct marketing programs. Dexters are good browsers and can rid pastures of some pest plants, and they may also be used as oxen.

Dexter cattle are increasing in numbers in North America and globally, and the breed seems destined to succeed. The challenge facing breeders, however, is to maintain historic selection practices so that the Dexter’s ­production qualities are conserved and promoted.

We are so looking forward to haveing this breed around