Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cow time

The past month has really flown by! The holidays were difficult for us this year and took a lot of emotional energy, leaving me with nothing left for blogging. Sorry about that...I've made another pact with myself to blog at least once per week this year. After all, there are things going on here at the farm!
Eiger the bull had a good 45 days with Sheila and Roxanne. After Roxy's first heat, we've never seen her cycle again, nor has Eiger shown any interest at all. We're keeping our fingers crossed that she's settled again. She's such a delight...I would love to have a nice 2012 calf out of her!

Sheila is another story. Her behavior has continued to be odd. She still acts bullish, and still spends a little too much time by Eiger's side. We're pretty certain her days with us are numbered. Really, though, that's's life on the farm, and sometimes hard decisions have to be made.

We left Xoe, Clyde and Cowboy on our leased pasture for an extra 45 days so that we could easily keep little virgin Xoe away from Eiger a bit longer. We brought everyone home on December 31st, New Year's Eve day. The kiddos loaded like buttah', no mishaps or misbehavior or anything! The drama started up when we pulled into our pasture with the truck and trailer full of youngters. Sheila started up with similar behavior as what she displayed when Eiger arrived...bellowing so loudly I could only ask her to shut up (like that works!). Once everyone exited the trailer, though, things settled down for the most part.

Oddly, Clyde had some extra sort of hutzpah we've never seen out of the little guy, and took it upon himself to challenge Eiger repeatedly the entire rest of the day. I was so afraid one of them would get shoved through the fence. They head butted and wrestled from one side of the pasture to the other, around the apple trees, in the burn pile, by the feeder. It was exhausting to watch...and even while being T-boned on the shoulder and pushed sideways, Clyde STILL wouldn't give it up! He ended up panting so hard, with his little pink tongue sticking out, it scared me a bit. Once he caught his breath and had a drink of water, off they went again. Obnoxious! In the end, he had blood in his dossan at the base of his left horn, and a bloody left nostril (it had dried and clotted), but seemed content. Today he's just fine and all "proving himself" has stopped.

The funny thing is, Cowboy, who was always the boss of Clyde and Xoe, has neared the bottom of the heirarchy. We're wondering if perhaps he lost some self confidence after we took his mother, Sheila, off the leased pasture. He seemed pretty needy througout the summer, always sticking close to Sheila and refusing to cross the creek for the longest time to where the rest of the herd was enjoying the hay field. Clyde looks more filled out than Cowboy, leading us to surmise Cowboy lost a bit of weight in the last 45 days. He looks healthy, but certainly acts much less confident. He avoided Eiger like the plague those first few days, and then finally got the courage to head butt him a couple of times...and you wouldn't believe how quickly Sheila got into the fray, as if to protect Cowboy and stop the insanity. It is so weird. But, given how both Cowboy and his older half-brother, T-Bone lacked the shining personality of our other calves, that helps us with our decision to butcher Sheila. She's done a fair job, not great, but it's time to replace her with someone who fits here better. We'll be in the market for another female probably Spring 2013.

Until then, we'll enjoy watching this bunch interact together until Eiger goes home and the rest of the fold returns to the leased pasture in late April or early May (depending on how much rainfall we get).

Fracas in the pasture from Skookumchuck Farm on Vimeo.


  1. Can you biotrack Sheila? Maybe she's already pregnant and just having an off gestation?

  2. I wish that were true, Pam, but her behavior has actually been odd for some months now, and the vet checked her out and said she felt normal, reproductively. If she misses this time, this would be the third consecutive miss for us (with ample time with three different bulls), fourth miss total for us, and fifth miss overall in her reproductive life. Not good...and we've decided that even if she does breed back this time, we will beef her offspring - male or female - and then her, too, after weaning. Sometimes these things just happen...

  3. I understand, just throwing things out there. I didn't realize she had missed before you bought her. That's really bad for a Highland girl!!

  4. The explanation before we bought her is that the bull died (which he did). She did breed back when she was put in with a bull before we brought her home in 2008, resulting in our first calf, T-Bone. However, her track record since has really, really sucked...and with excellent bulls, too.


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