Day before yesterday, my steer Conway Twitty began moaning loudly. I had just brought the cattle in for breakfast and normally the cattle all snooze contentedly in the dark of the barn after polishing off their grain. Instead, Conway was pacing and moaning. What in the world?
I have been aware for a while now that I have three “steers” that are not really steers. By the time I got around to castrating Skippy, the fourth and youngest, I had realized that in the winter cold and the fright of being handled, the boys’ testicles were retracting and I had missed one testicle each time. With Skippy, I reached up and made sure to pull both down. Skippy is a steer. The other three, Conway, Luke Bryan, and Olaf, are one-testicled bulls. Again. It took me a year and five calves to figure out exactly what was going on. I can be very slow.
By the time I turned the cattle out that evening, both Conway and Luke were pacing and restless. They followed Moxie step by step in the pasture. Last night, they both were mounting Moxie and in the excitement she mounted them in return.
I thought Moxie had been bred in May when she first came back into heat. She did not come into heat in June. My bull went to slaughter at the end of that month. It seems clear, however, that if Moxie was bred, she’s slipped her calf and is now open. I no longer have a bull capable of breeding her. It appears Moxie will not have a calf next spring.
I will send in milk samples for both Moxie and Dorrie to check for pregnancy, but a bull’s nose is usually reliable.
I have been planning to try to sell Dorrie next month, along with my ram and many of the lambs. My intention has been to downsize severely. However I didn’t plan on no calves or milk at all next year. Sigh.
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My camera is now foggy in addition to moldy. All my photos seem to be taken underwater, with black blotches. We shall persevere.
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On a happier note, new fence posts were delivered on Thursday and yesterday morning Kyle and I laid out posts every 23-25 feet around the entire perimeter of the back field. Next week we’ll pound them in.
In the afternoon Damon arrived and started mowing down the weeds left after the cattle had grazed it. He’ll finish mowing the last quarter on Monday. It’s so exciting to see progress. Someday these acres will grow grass.
Damon and I were both a little teary, thinking of his father.