Life's been busy at Timber Valley Ranch. When we talked to other farmers and ranchers about the lifestyle they often said there's never enough money and always something to do! We can affirm that now personally; however, getting to watch them run through the pasture together is worth it.
On August 10th our next three bison, all yearling bulls, were delivered. It's been tricky to decide who should be Meatball, Billie and Wooly Hamish. About the time we decide who should be who, it becomes hard to tell them apart other than their ear tag numbers. Not so with the first three - the two year old bull, Big Z, is much larger than the new yearlings.
Bison have a social structure and hierarchy as herd animals, thus when the new bulls arrived we were curious how they would meet & greet our current residents. Male bison compete fiercely for females and territory, so if you put a mature bull in with a dominant, older bull they could kill each other. Fortunately, the yearling bulls we added are not mature yet and won't start a turf war with Big Z. No need to add that to our learning curve!
When the yearlings bulls were released to the main pasture I wish I had gotten a video. It was the bison version of East meets West. The original three stood at the East end of the pasture watching and the new three stood at the West end, both on a rise in the land. It could've been an epic stand off, but they slowly walked toward each other and finally Thora and Merkel, our females who couldn't wait any longer, ran to meet them! It was very interesting to watch. After the initial meeting, there was some chasing, running, and light head butting, but nothing serious. They still lay down in separate groups at times, yet close to each other. In time they should fully integrate (we think).
We had a fiasco with the chickens back in July and lost 11 of them to a fox or coyote. Such is life. However, I did get an automatic door for the coop so if we forget to close the ramp they are safe and sound with a door on a timer. Bless the people who invent such things!
On July 2nd we got our first eggs! They were small and some so thin they broke, but at this point we're getting about a dozen a day and they're piling up in the fridge. They are for sale. Today, my daughter, who is almost two, helped me clean and carton about four dozen. There was only one casualty on the kitchen floor. Oops! We had fun though.
If you'd like to learn more about bison and their behavior you can check out the National Bison Association online.