Summer at Timber Valley Bison
Greetings and thank you for your interest in Timber Valley Bison!
We got our first bison on June 10, 2021, so it's already been two years. A lot has happened in that time. Much work (we like this kind of work), new experiences, farm flops and new bison. All very worth it to us and we hope you enjoy them as well.
Currently we have 10 bison on the ranch and three pastures. There were 17 bison at the beginning of the year; however, since we knew we needed to work on pasture improvement and increase forage available, we sold four of last year's calves (learned how wean and separate calves - another story!) to a close neighbor who is raising them as a food source. We also cared for three females over the winter for this neighbor and they moved to their new home this spring. One of them had a calf on July 4th so they are now experiencing the joy of those first calves! They named him Andi. It's very neat as a producer to see more people raising bison and awareness of this amazing animal.
Plains bison are from the plains of the Midwest and as such are no stranger to heat, summer storms and predators. They can pretty much take care of themselves. But, they can't protect themselves from flies. Bison like flies about as much as people do, but they can't get away from them easily and flies cause stress and issues like pink eye and other diseases. Flies especially congregate around the bison eyes because they like the moisture produced by their irritation. Yuck! It's hard to get rid of the flies, yet there are things we do. A couple are putting garlic (natural fly repellent) in their minerals and using an oiler (oil and fly repellent) to help get some protection on their faces. We also use diatomaceous earth, which is a powder made of ground shell, and put that in their wallows (the places they lay and roll). That coats them and kills flies. We try to keep things as natural as possible while caring for our furry friends.
This fall we plan to put down lime and grass seed to help strengthen the pastures. We had a call just this morning with a Holistic Management consultant and he was talking about getting to know our weeds better, increasing soil health through grazing pressure and grazing planning. Not sure if we'll be experts anytime soon, but I've heard other producers say life-long learning is the ticket. We started with no experience and sometimes I wish I had some;). We've talked to many farmers and are learning that way too. Farmers who have been doing so for generations have a deal of experience and knowledge. It might look easy, but it's not. It's easy to take our food supply for granted, however a lot of work goes into it, especially for smaller farms/ranches/dairies. Thank a farmer if you see one!
Pics: Left-fencing party for the 3rd pasture. Middle-mom and baby. Right-hanging out on a nice day!