July 14th, 2022
The Bison Days of Summer
Mid-July is upon us and the calves are growing like weeds! Lady, our first calf, has horns that are 2-3" long already. At around 3-months old the calves will start to turn darker brown and develop their hump. Lady was born mid-April (13th?) and should be approaching those changes. We will miss our cinnamon calves; but, there will be more next year! That's a happy thought:)
The calves will stay with their mommas for now and not be weaned or separated. We'd like to keep things as natural as possible; however, when a cow (female bison who's calved) has a new calf and a yearling that wants to hang around as well, the yearling can drive the calf away and they can't nurse. Human children aren't the only ones who can have a hard time adjusting to a new baby! If we run into issues there, we may have to separate the yearlings. Which means more fencing!
Seems there's always fencing to do, or repairs. In June, we added a second pasture for rotational grazing. The first night they were in it they broke some wires and went back to their original one. We thought, oh boy, how are we gonna keep 'em down there? Our mentor, Peter Cook of Cook's Bison, suggesting leaving all the gates open for a few days and letting them explore. After a couple days, we closed the gates while they were down there and they've stayed since.
The herd will be coming back up to the upper pasture within a week. Parasites, which are the biggest issue for bison, have a 21 day life cycle and rotating the bison will help us not have to worm them as much if they're not getting infected. Ideally, we need a third pasture for rotation. Anyone wanna come help! We've gotten smarter and faster through experience, so it's not so bad.
Back in March, a stray dog came through and killed 21 of my chickens. That was a bummer. So, we didn't have eggs available anymore. Turned out to be an ok break. Built the flock back up and currently, we have 8 hens, 4 pullets, 2 chicks and rooster of various breeds. Nine different ones, I think. I've officially turned into a chicken lady;)
Have a great summer!
p.s. we're at the Battle Creek Farmers Market most Wednesdays. Check Facebook for any days we may miss.
Wife, mom and community member learning to manage a ranch...