Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Switching again

It's official. We're switching cows again.

Maui and Trixie calved on Monday morning within minutes of each other. I know that happens all the time on bigger farms, but it doesn't happen very often around here. Both cows gave birth to heifer calves, which made the morning doubly exciting.

The arrival of these two little heifers also means that we're now milking more cows than the barn can hold. And there aren't any more cows to dry off until the middle of April.

We already dried off a couple cows early to make room for the cows that calved earlier this month. Not nearly as many as we did during the winter of 2010-11, though. This past fall we 'wintersized' the herd, as one of our salesmen dubbed it, so we wouldn't end up with so many cows on extended vacation.

The challenging part of switching this early in the year is that the cows aren't out on pasture yet. But they will be soon. For now, the switch cows are relaxing on a pile of corn stalks in the cow yard.

The challenging part of switching itself — other than the extra time it takes to milk and move cows — is knowing that come fall we'll have to downsize again to fit the herd back into the barn.

Unfortunately, we can't double cows up in stalls as easily as Trixie's and Maui's calves doubled up in the calf warmer.

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