Wednesday, February 22, 2012

An Amazing Week So Far!

Pen 1 (Cows who have had 1-2 calves) enjoys a tasty lunch in the new barn.
We have been having an amazing week so far.  While the mornings have been early and the nights have been's been worth it all. 
On Monday we had our monthly DHIA test, where we learned how the cows have been adapting to their new home.  It was awesome to see how well they are doing!  In all honesty, the past couple months have been a trial for them.  The old barn was over crowded, and the bedding was piling up.  The freedom and space of the new barn, combined with the comfortable stalls and added feeding space has really paid off.  Our #1 cow...Orange Patch Rockette...or you can just call her Rockette, produced a whopping 168 pounds of milk in one day (almost 20 gallons!)!  She's definitely a rockstar in our eyes!  Our #1 heifer (had just 1 calf so far) named Orange Patch Morty Blessing...or Blessing for short...produced an also impressive 120 pounds per day!  Both of these cows, are like so many others in our herd, who are exceeding our expectations, and we are truly blessed with the opportunity to work with them.
On Tuesday we had herd health in the new barn.  We used the headlocks (as seen in the picture above) to "lock" our cows, so our veterinarian could check them out.  Using the headlocks proved to be an enjoyable experience for us humans, but more importantly for the cows!  They really enjoyed being able to eat while we did their check ups, and even after we released them, the cows kept coming back for more attention.  The good news is that we have another 18 cows and 4 heifers ready to have calves in September!  We're really excited about that! The better news was the herd health took less time, but more importantly, was kinder and gentler on the cows! So cool!
Today, was another great experience....we enjoyed visiting with the area high school animal science class.  The 21 students came to our farm this morning with a really good general base of knowledge about dairy farming, thanks to their awesome ag-teacher.  With the knowledge they asked some great questions about the practices we use on our farm.  I can't say enough good things about the importance of ag-education in high schools and the importance of teaching our teens where their food actually comes from!  Overall this was one of the best, if not the best tour group of teens that we've ever had! Just awesome! =)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

They're Home!!!!!

Sparkles and her friends on Day 1 in the new barn..  These cows have never seen a stall before.
We were so proud of them for figuring out right away how to use their new beds!!!
Well, we finally did it!  We moved the first group of cows into our new barn!  The barn is not completed yet, we have many little things to do, but we were running out of space and our girls just couldn't wait any longer to check out their new home!  It's been so amazing to just walk up into the new barn and see how calm and comfortable the cows are!  Jon and I often just sit and watch them, resting in their sand bedded free stalls, chewing their cuds, and relaxing!
I'm really looking forward to getting some time to sort through the many pictures and videos I took along our journey, and getting them posted to our blog.  It's been a wonderful...nope make that AMAZING winter in Minnesota for construction, so we were truly blessed.  And, hopefully at the end of this project I can feature more videos and pictures of the cows.....enjoing the fruits of their (and our labor)!  Stay tuned!