Feeding The Calves

The calves, now about nine months old, were weaned several weeks ago, and have settled into a daily routine without their mamas. Harland feeds them grain and hay, and they’ve grown thick fur coats to ward off the cold. I went along with Harland on Sunday to watch as he fed them. Normally I would have helped with the grain, but I wanted to share some pics with you, so I brought along the camera and played photographer instead. He feeds them grain twice a day. It is a homemade mix of corn, oats, protein mix, minerals, vitamins, and sorghum. Harland also feeds them two 1500 pound bales of hay a week.  The grain is stored in a small building near the lot where the calves are kept. 

First he shoveled several 5 gallon buckets full,

 and then emptied them out along the length of the trough.

The calves love the grain, and fight to get to it, even though there’s plenty for all. Eventually they settle down and the sound of contented chewing from 50 hungry calves can be heard.


Then he brought them 2 fresh bales of hay.

 He cut and baled the hay back in June. (See post about haymaking here.)

He brings the hay into the lot,

 removes the webbing,

 and then hoists each bale into a hay ring.

When the calves are done eating grain, they start in on the new bales.

Each calf eats about eight pounds of hay and four pounds of grain each day. In January, we will sell about 40 of the calves at auction. The remaining 10 calves, all of which will be heifers(girls) will stay in the lot for the rest of the winter and into next spring. Early next summer, they will be turned out with the bulls into the pasture and hopefully will be bred.

But right now their only job is to eat, stay healthy, and continue to grow.


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Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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12 Responses

  1. Teresa says:

    They look good (and I love the picture of the grain-covered nose). My nephew thinks I should get another cow, but bulls and getting the cows bred are a problem on such a small scale.

  2. Nancy says:

    I’m moved. I’m lazy, yet moved. Thank you for all you do. BTW I long to be 122 lbs. I guess I should get my lazy butt moving!

  3. Love #199 with the feed on its nose.

  4. Joani says:

    Oh, it looks so cold. I spent a winter in Arkansas with my father some years back and we had to feed cows & calves and when the snow and ice hit that was the worst. Horses, cows, and calves all had to be fed. Luv the pictures. Brings back fond memories. I especially like baby calf pictures. Merry Christmas

  5. They are beautiful – I’d love to hear the sound of 50 contented calves chewing, since I love the sound of four contented donkey boys eating their hay. I could stand there for hours and listen to them! 🙂

  6. Laura says:

    I love seeing animals that are well cared for and content – it’s just good for the soul!

  7. Doe of Mi. says:

    The babies are looking big and healthy. I’ll betcha Harland is loving that tractor and picker upper when it comes to those bales!!

  8. Sally Bishop says:

    Life on the farm. I can almost smell the hay and hear the tractor.

  9. Saska says:

    I love the smell of hay when DH takes the netwrap off of it. The calves always act like they’re starving to death.

  10. Glenda says:

    I love the thickness of their coats and the fact that they are so pretty (no mud yet).
    Then in the background I see the lovely rolling hills of eastern Kansas.

  11. Vivian says:

    Cows have the most beautiful eyes, don’t they? That looks like cold work. No wonder you have to put on 10 pounds of clothes! It’s the wind that gets to me.

  12. Eliza says:

    Thanks for sharing! I don’t miss cold mornings in the country! In fact I just visited your sunflower page for some warmth! Beautiful!

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