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Culling



Colonel's Blog, Earthdate 15 Feb2023...

Hey Y'all!


Happy Wednesday afternoon to you! Yesterday, we lost a ewe that we have been nursing along. The stress of a storm is sometimes just too much for them. So, we took her to the bone-pile. This morning we awoke to one of our new momma beef cows dead. She also was old and we were nursing her along trying in vain to keep her healthy. We will bring her calf into the pen with the milk cows so that she will be right near us and we can feed her milk replacer in a bucket. We could feed her milk from the Jerseys, but we currently believe the milk is too valuable to us if the milk replacer will suffice. The rest of the animals are doing very well, except a couple of ewes...more on that later. Yesterday we made yogurt and cheese. We also went to town to get batteries for the boat. We spent the evening together as a 'date-night' in. We had some of our own grass fed beef steaks over the charcoal and it was delicious. Today we spent the morning hauling off the dead cow and trying to catch the calf. We were unsuccessful in catching her in the open pasture so we will run the entire heard through the pens tomorrow and separate the calf from the group so we can bring her in. This afternoon, we are trying desperately to salvage a couple of hours on the lake fishing. We do like to occasionally remind ourselves that we are retired and a Wednesday afternoon on the lake is a great way to do that. The top pic is Shelley and I two days ago enjoying the sunny warm winter weather. The bottom pic is one of the beef cows that is about to have a calf. One of the signs is her full udder and engorged teats. Another sign is swelling on the other end, often described as sloppy. She is showing all of the signs and we should have another calf soon.


Most, like 99%, of the time spent debriefing a sortie as fighter aircrew is spent identifying, reviewing, and discussing the things that went wrong during the sortie with the aim of doing it better the next time. There is too little debrief time available to discuss the things that went well. If you need pats on the po-po with discussions of everything you did well during the day, fighter debriefs are not for you. That said, a debrief item for Shelley and I as farmers is our refusal to cull unless/until it becomes obvious that an animal is going to die. I believe the root cause is our life spent having pets and never having farm animals. Pets become part of the family and we do everything we can to keep them alive and mourn their loss if we are unsuccessful. In order to help ourselves along as farmers, we have a policy that we don't name the animals that will be our food. I know some folks do but it just doesn't work for us. BUT...the breeding stock isn't food in our mind, they are long-term members of the farm...and that is our issue. All of the gurus talk about the need to cull your breeding stock and most recommend culling hard; meaning that any animal that is not thriving in the context of your farm should be immediately removed. So far, we have not done a very good job at that aspect of farming. We spend way too much mental energy, time, money, and even waste food trying to nurse along animals that aren't thriving in our scenario. Joel Salatin recommends culling immediately if they are "open (won't breed), old, or ornery." The ewes that we have lost lately were part of the first group we got of someone else's culls and were some combination of open, old, and ornery. A few of them were all three, like the one that died yesterday. A bit foolishly, we thought we could bring them back to health and they could still be productive members of the farm. We're not sure what happened with the cow today other than she was old and the stress of feeding the calf was just too much for her. So, with the root cause identified, what we now need to do is determine how to do better in the future. My standard fighter debrief comment applies here: "Do better, suck less!"


Shelley's YouTube Short today is: Learning to Hand Milk. Be sure to subscribe!


Local Farm Report for 14 Feb 2023:

Harvest:

21 Chicken eggs

9 Duck eggs

5 1/4 Gallons of milk

Sales:

N/A


Cheers! Rich & Shelley

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rcgable
rcgable
17 de fev. de 2023
Avaliado com 5 de 5 estrelas.

Hey y’all,

We have only had to cull our chickens so far. My girls are very attached to them even though they are supposed to be for production and fertilization. The chickens they see as pets or members of the family like you mentioned. They do the same with the cows but we have been talking through the cows purpose a lot more than we discuss the chickens. It is definitely difficult but we keep working through it as the issues arise.

My partner has two that we are discussing the best options for culling because one of them is older and not getting better on body condition. The other one is a little on the mentally unstable which…

Curtir
Rich and Shelley McGlamory
Rich and Shelley McGlamory
19 de fev. de 2023
Respondendo a

Hey Rob! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences. Let us know what your partner decides, it would be a hard decision for us too. In his position, we might decide that both must go and just start over. You are spot-on in your observation that we often try to fix things that can't or shouldn't be. Cheers! Rich & Shelley

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Mark Cummings
Mark Cummings
15 de fev. de 2023

Awesome info Psycho!

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Rich and Shelley McGlamory
Rich and Shelley McGlamory
16 de fev. de 2023
Respondendo a

Thanks, Bogie! Hope you are well, my friend!

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Todd Campbell
Todd Campbell
15 de fev. de 2023

This is the most interesting of your posts to date, because of the issue of having livestock that are not doing what they are supposed to be doing. Nature culls its own through predation or isolation from the pack......why would the same not be the case with a farmer or rancher? To circumvent any loss and to retain maximum profits, this is why farmers use pesticides/herbicides and ranchers pump their livestock with drugs......and the product consumed, with all of its problems, tells the rest of the tale.

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Rich and Shelley McGlamory
Rich and Shelley McGlamory
16 de fev. de 2023
Respondendo a

Todd, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You are exactly right! We don't want all of the artificial inputs and thus we experience a different level of loss. I really appreciate your perspective!

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