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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Bale Grazing

In the winter, we feed out the bales we worked so hard to make in the spring. Last May we mowed the grass and then baled it while the moisture was about 50%. We then wrapped it in plastic to set up fermentation, thus enhancing the nutritional value. Probiotics, energy and protein all in one large bale.

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Building a Better Food System

Check out this great 3½ minute video from A Greener World, which is building a better food system based on sustainable and humane farms like ours. Thanks for your business and for spreading the word!

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Wild and Crazy Weather

In the space of two weeks, we went from the best grazing weather to a surprise 10″ snowfall, which brought grazing to an abrupt and stressful end. The cattle cannot find the grass. Three weeks early, we need to feed hay. Will we have enough? The summer was so dry that the second cut of hay was barely worth the effort and expense.

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Where’s the steer?

It was a very dark night

A tale of adventure:  We had planned on celebrating the end of a successful season of grassfed beef production, as soon as we loaded our last two British White cattle into the trailer.  But the trucker was late, arriving after dark.  The driver backed into the barn and opened the trailer gate with bright lights illuminating the interior of the trailer in an otherwise pitch black barn.  The heifer was drawn to this novelty and slowly climbed in to check it out.  (We closed the divider gate behind her.) But where’s the steer?  We shone our flashlights into every corner of the barn, until we saw the twisted gate.  Free into the night!  Given the escape route taken, he either turned right and was up a quarter-mile-long dead-end farm road, or he turned left with access to West Shore Road.  We could be up all night!  We jumped into the ATV and tore up the dead-end lane, hoping for the best.  Had we closed all the gates?  The ones leading to the 80-acre north field?  And there he was — looming large in our headlights, but just as quickly stepping outside their focus and floating away like a ghost — a fast ghost.  Quick!  Call for help to close off the West Shore Road access, putting up electric fencing so that there was only one lane, and it led to the barn.  Then out again in the ATV to find our steer and guide him in.  After that, it was easy.  He seemed to want to go back to where he would not be so alone in the dark.  Shakespeare said it best:  “All’s well that ends well.”  We DID get to celebrate.

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Farm Visitors

A visit from other farmers is always special. The Papineau family spent some time with the herd, took a few photos of calves and the kids tried out our cattle scratcher.

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Farm Stays Available

In the name of agritourism, we are now offering 2 campsites. Our Saturday camper jumped in to help with farm chores, like feeding milk to our bottle-fed calf and setting up temporary fencing for the next cattle move. We can be booked via hipcamp.com or our own website https://healthherofarm.com/farm-stay/. We can accommodate 2 families or a small group.

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