VT Digger Q&A for New Farmers Joan and Bob

June 5, 2019 edition VT Digger article Q&A: New farmers in retirement: ‘The animals keep us young’. Article and photos by Anne Wallace Allen.

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In the news! SEVEN DAYS article on Humane Certification

Health Hero Farm Promotes Awareness of Humane Certification By MELISSA PASANEN (photo credit DARIA BISHOP)

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Finally Grazing

This is what we’ve been waiting for — fresh, nourishing grass. Even the newborn calves are trying it out.

Fran’s calf nursing

Starting to graze

The herd on pasture, after weather delays

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Grass Gods, Make it happen!

We’re running out of hay and the grass needs to grow some more, before we declare “TURN OUT DAY”!!! Allowing cattle to graze soggy fields or grass just starting to grow will stunt the pasture for the coming year. So we wait… And we sing a simple song of longing to the Sun God 😉

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New website connects people to humane farms

A group of Vermont farmers created a website to help consumers find products from farms that treat their livestock humanely – EthicalEaterVT.org. You can read about it in VTDigger (article).

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Do cattle wear makeup?

mascara smudge

eyebrow liner

You be the judge!

Update:  This little bull calf just weighed in at 113,  13 days after birth.  Given that we could lift him as a newborn, he probably gained 60 pounds.  That grass milk is amazing!!!

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And it’s a girl!

Kit just gave birth to a little heifer. This morning, we noticed that we were down a head at the bale ring. When we checked the barn, there she was — Kit with her sweet little calf. Now we watch, hoping to see the calf nurse so we know the calf will be healthy.
More to come… Well, the update is that the calf failed to nurse. She was clueless as to where the teat was. So we had to bottle feed her some colostrum, which she chugged down. Then we put Kit in the squeeze chute so we could handle her safely and milk her a bit to see if there was anything there. The calf did succeed in nursing a little, since we guided her mouth onto the teat. Two days later, after two more squeeze chute training sessions and a few intermittent bottles of milk, the little heifer has mastered her assignment and now nurses with high enthusiasm. It is a delight to watch her bouncing around in the barn and outside where the cows are eating hay.

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Calf Watch

We just shredded a couple more round bales of bedding hay to prepare a comfy spot for our pregnant cows to give birth. So soft and fluffy to lie on! Here’s our Lena, a very pregnant cow, welcoming the return of the sun and waiting for her calf to be born. We’re expecting 10 calves very, very soon. The other cows are eating hay.

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Spending time with cattle

Lucas greets Bob in the morning when he goes to check on the cattle. Around age 1, some beef cattle allow their curiosity to overcome their shyness and they seek contact.

Joan brought Lucas some kale to see if he liked it, but a bigger kid stole his treat. And then he came to make his complaint. I gently walked off the bully;-) Lucas has discovered an advantage to being friendly, instead of shy. Yes, he enjoyed that kale.

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As the snow melts

At ease in the trees

Looking forward to spring, I wanted to share some of the beauty of winter. Here are a few of our cattle in the woods near the barn. They could be indoors on their bedded pack, but they are drawn to the trees.

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