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Annual Vet Visit

Posted 2/26/2013 1:59pm by Julie Hurst / Roy Brubaker.

Tuesday, February 26

Roy spent the morning moving ram lambs and Berkshire sows into so that we could send the cows and last years calves through our handling chute to be pregancy checked and vaccinated.  It is quite a process. Our new pigpens are so close to being done -- just a few gates to make and hang and latches to put on –  that we moved the sows out of the beef end of the barn for good! In the future we hope that working the beef will not take so much shuffling around of animals and gates. While Roy took care of setting up, I did the morning chores and spent some time frost-seeding our pastures so that in the spring we will have rye grass and clover growing in any bare spots where we've overwintered animals. When both of us are able to work on the farm, it is amazing how much faster the work gets done!  We were ready for Dr. Gingerich about an hour before he arrived; of course halfway through our bolice broke and the bent old gates we used for separating cows and yearlings kept us humble inspite of our early success.

When he came, each beef cow, steer, heifer, and calf was sent through the squeeze chute. The cows were pregancy checked, and if bred, vaccinated. Most of them are due to calf in about two months.The yearling steers and heifers we given a large magnet to ingest. No, they don't enjoy being fed a magnet, but as soon as they are left out of the chute, they calmly go back to eating. They were weaned from their moms, whose bodies need to start preparing for the new calves that is about arrive. The yearlings have had nearly ten months with their moms; it's time they get off momma's milk. One early bull calf was castrated. And that was our day. With the Roy, Dr. Gingerich, his assistant, and me all working together, it took about two hours to complete the job. Like shearing, it is one of those annual farm “events” that feels cathartic when completed. It is the sort of work that makes us really feel like farmers – albeit rather delinquent ones as we usually try get this process done in November! Always room for improvement – next fall, we'll be on time.