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Intern Diaries saboranch on 14 Dec 2009 05:41 pm

Sabo Ranch Intern Diary – Rebecca Kurnick

October 12, 

Snow on 9/30.  Early winter caught everyone off guard.  There was a scramble to get the property in order so when the snow comes in drifts we are ‘ready’.  Daily chores come in a whole new fashion when winter sets in.  Planning where ice will build up, where snow will drift, how animals will access food and water, making sure to prevent hoses from freezing. 

The two weeks between September and October were a busy couple of weeks. While we were waiting to see when Jersey cows Lila and Cupcake would go into heat we thought we missed both of their cycles.  By missing the heats and not getting both of these cows bred this time around, the dates at which these cows calved would be three to six weeks later than hoped. The later calving would affect the time of lactation with each cow. 

With a swift change in weather and many preparations for winter taking priority, other tasks were put on the back burner.  This busy time reinforced the concept of wearing many hats; constantly observing many parts to the whole operation.  Balancing daily chores, making sure there will be another generation of calves in the spring, in both Jersey and Devon herds, and maintaining the property for each season are just a few of the big picture ideas occupying ones time.

Jersey cow Cupcake and new calf Cora (Jersey/Dutch Belted) July 2009


The first weekend of October we branded calves.  Branding later in the season than typical yielded very solid fullblood Rotokawa Devon and Devon/Angus cross calves on the branding table.  Later afternoon activities included moving the herd of mother cows to the winter pasture.  The dairy cows are in the pasture above the house with access to what grass they can find and winter shelter.  Milk production has gone down slightly with the move off of fresh grass and onto second cutting alfalfa and grass hay making up the majority of their diet.  However, Jersey cow Cupcake, whose production I have been following as consistently as possible,  has given a full gallon more over the last few days.  This increase from one and a half gallons to two and a half gallons is because we have been putting Jersey/Dutch Belted calf Cora away earlier in the evening as she is now about three months old.  Sunny and warm today.  Will we have a few more weeks of fall??



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