They’re here, they’re here!!! The Cows are here!! We’d like to welcome Gwen, Grace, Kris, Kurt, Kit, and 2009 (unfortunate name, I know) to Fluffy Butt Farms!!
As you all know, this has been two years in the making. And wouldn’t you know it, they came home, and I was hit with the flu and wasn’t able to spend any time getting to know my new herd of fluffy butts before winter hit. I was looking forward to getting out there and becoming friends with them before it got too cold since I 100% plan to milk them. Since we started the farm in 2020 I have only had one opportunity to milk, and it was goats. Unfortunately for me, 2021 was the year of do-overs so I was busy being a friend instead of a farmer. 2022 was the summer I took on way too much and had no time for anything. So, 2023 will be the year I make time to farm. I’m sure it’s going to be a pain in the butt, but honestly, milking the goats was comparable to yoga for me, and I could really use that meditation more frequently. In addition to the meditation that comes with milking, think of the ice-cream, whey, cream cheese, mozzarella, and so on! The best part of the milk for me, these cows have the A2A2 gene, which means my lactose sensitive self can get down on that diary! (I realize I sound maybe too excited about the milk, and I’m not a milk lover, I’m just tired of being sick immediately after having dairy).
It got a little icy this Winter
It took just under a month since our new herd came home for Tank to become friends with them. They were very excited to meet Addie, I wish I had a video but that was completely unexpected. They all became bucking broncos. It was hilarious. Gwen and Grace have become interested in me, and I have become a full blown farmgirl. I have a lot to learn with these cows, like the lingo. I didn’t know a cow was a female that had given birth, I thought they were all just cows, then they fell into categories, like bull, steer, heifer and so on. A steer, Tank, is a male who cannot make babies. A heifer is a female who hasn’t had babies yet. And of course, a bull is an intact male. The goats, rabbits, and chickens made all of this so easy on me. It started to get complicated when we brought the pigs, or hogs, home. I’m still struggling with their name reference. They’re basically breeding pigs and feeder pigs to me at this point.
One thing I know for sure, these are Dexter’s. They are smaller than your average cattle. Case in point, Tank is about 9 months old and the same size as Gwen and Grace, two full grown cows. Like I mentioned before, they have a genetic ability to produce A2A2 milk, there are studies out there that go back and forth on this being helpful to those of us sensitive to lactose. Personally, I started purchasing A2A2 milk when we decided to purchase this herd to see if there really was a difference. For me, there is, 100%. Obviously, I can’t say it will be the
same for you, but it has been a game changer in my life. Dexter’s are also a heritage breed animal, meaning their lineage can be traced way back, www.Livestockconservancy.org states; ‘Heritage breeds are traditional livestock breeds that were raised by our forefathers. These are the breeds of a bygone era before industrial agriculture became a mainstream practice. These breeds were carefully selected and bred over time to develop traits that made them well-adapted to the local environment and they thrived under farming practices and cultural conditions that are very different from those found in modern agriculture’
This makes them more resilient than commercial cattle today. Resilient to parasites, weather, birthing, and so on. It’s been important to us that our animals can forage. While we don’t have an obscene amount of land, what we do have, we are attempting to use appropriately. The goal is rotational grazing, that is not only great for our soil, but really helps keep the animals healthy as well.
Since these guys and gals have been on the farm, I’ve been surprised to find they aren’t as loud as I thought they would be. Granted, they’ve constantly had a bale of hay in front of them since they’ve only been here during Winter. And since I haven’t spent much time
getting to know them due to our farm being overwhelmingly busier and muddier than expected, they are still scared of me. This has been a blessing when it comes to giving them hay because I’m able to shoo them away from the gate. Tank on the other hand, is not only not scared of me, but he decided one day that maybe taking a tour of the farm was a good idea while I dealt with the hay. The first time he didn’t go too far, I was able to keep my eye on him, and he spent the five minutes of freedom galloping around the front of the house. Riley had no clue what to do so she just sat there and stared in awe. The next time, he got a little braver and I lost him for about a minute. That was a very long minute. He was gone. I ran to grab some grain, or cow crack, (he loves grain), but I couldn’t find him. I turned my back then saw him trotting back to the rest of the cattle to grab his share of the fresh hay. Chris likes to claim that I taught him to get out, it’s adorable when he invents new ways to point out he does a better job at farming. I think that was my last time manning hay day for the cows for a bit. We have since moved the boys to a neighbor’s house to graze his pasture while we wait for the cows to calf. We kept the cows at home while we waited for them to calve, we thought one was due around Easter, but no baby yet. Another is due is June, possibly. This is our first calving season and I have a sneaking feeling we will miss it as the cows have been moved over to their Summer pasture.
It's been great to drive down the street and see the boys on their new pasture, at our house, on our small winter pasture, they looked so big in the small area. Seeing them on the larger pasture, they look so much smaller.
Even Tank looks smaller. And still, they’re much quieter than I anticipated, they are however still escape artists. Chris had been home for two weeks to help with kidding season and to move the cattle around. He left for ONE day, then was going to be home another week. That ONE day, Kurt and Kit decided that the grass really did look greener on the other side. Apparently when a recent storm blew through, the electric fence was hit by a lightning strike. That killed the fence, and those two decided to check out the forbidden fruit. They were loving on the pine trees when I got to them. Seeing as how they aren’t grain fed, I was unable to lure them back into the pasture with the grain. Tank, however, was all over the grain and had me worried he would blow through the fence to get it. His excitement got Kit intrigued enough to squeeze back under the fence. Kurt, however, feared the fence and wouldn’t go back under, so I had to convince him a different way, basically walking next to him and herding him to the front of the property. While I was dealing with all this Chris was calling all our friends and neighbors telling them I needed help. One of our friends Melissa came up with the conclusion that a cow will go home when they know help is on the way. And that’s exactly what happened. As soon as everyone jumped into their cars, Kurt seamlessly went right through the gate. I had them back into their pasture within 20 minutes thanks to all our amazing friends who opted to help me.
We’ve only had the cattle at the farm for about six months, and while I am slightly scared of them, I also just really love them. They’re beautiful creatures. I’m excited to see how our calving season goes, I’m even more intrigued to know when that season is over. Yup, I feel ya Kris, it's taking forever for these babies to come! (She's a little more dramatic than I am in this wait, and she's not pregnant).
She's not dead, apparently this is a thing cows do, freak you out!