We have some happy cows on the Blomme farm right now. After a long winter, we turned some of our cow/calf pairs out to pasture last night. This might be one of the coolest sights of the whole year. After spending the last few months in barns to keep them protected and comfortable from Old Man Winter, they now can explore and enjoy the fresh green grass, sunshine and wide open spaces.
Before turning them out to pasture, we vaccinated these calves for respiratory diseases and pink eye. We will monitor them closely to make sure they don’t break with something like pneumonia while out on pasture. A big part of having cows and calves on pasture is checking fences and making sure that everything is in good shape to keep them where they’re supposed to be.
These calves will continue to nurse their moms until they are about four to five months old. At that time we will wean them and they will consume grass hay, corn and protein pellets. Prior to breeding, the cows on pasture will be supplemented with ground hay and silage to make sure they have adequate nutrition heading into pregnancy. They will also be supplemented with salt and mineral to round out their nutrition program.
These calves will ultimately be fed out and harvested for meat. If you pay attention to meat packaging, you will see labels that say things like “grass fed,” “grain fed” or “grain finished.” These calves will be a combination of grass fed and grain fed. They will consume grass while on pasture with their moms and then will be grain finished (along with rations of grass hay, silage and gluten) in our feedlots.
The video below has a special treat for you. You will be serenaded by my 3-year-old’s rendition of “Let it go,” the famous soundtrack from the movie Frozen. Seems quite fitting for this situation as I’m sure the cows are feeling a lot of freedom being turned out to pasture!
Picture perfect evening with these mamas and their babes.