Friday, April 11, 2014

It's Feeding Time!

This has been the first winter we've had the Belted Galloway cattle. It was an epic winter, full of snow (over 144" last I heard) and bitterly cold temps. We are very pleased with how they fared. We had a little trouble with them walking over the fences, but fortunately they are all present and accounted for.

Until the pastures regrow, we need to keep feeding hay. In the post linked above, I mentioned that the cattle had gained access to our hay stash and made a royal mess. You can see evidence of their misdeeds on the barn floor in the photo below, as well as in the bottom left bale (partially hidden by a conveyor belt, left).

Our new skid steer has served us well, and continues to be useful in so many ways on the farm. Our old one was lost in a small fire, and The Farmer has fashioned a bale spear for this new one. He can carefully remove a bale from the tall pile, even in very tight quarters. I am grateful for the cab on the skid steer, as it would protect him in case one of those piles tipped over. Each bale weighs about 1,000 to 1,200 lbs.

The round bale feeder (green, off to the right) is currently empty, and the cattle are naturally interested in this new supply of hay.

Some are more interested in what I'm doing.

The skid steer can just plop that heavy bale in the round bale feeder--it's a beautiful thing. Each bale lasts these cattle about three days.

They are pretty anxious for their meal.

Each bale is wrapped with netting to hold it together. The last thing The Farmer has to do before the cattle can begin eating is to remove the netting.

The round bale feeder helps to cut down on waste. When this area was full of snow, we were just setting the round bales on the ground, without the protection of the feeder. There was a lot more waste, with the cows eating some, and laying on the rest. We like these round bale feeders.

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