Records – Part 2 (Ag Book of the Day 7)

So, as promised yesterday, I said that I would explain what records we keep for our heifers (females that haven’t had a calf).

At birth, the records are the same. We keep track of the cow number, the sire (or bull), date of birth, weight at birth, calving ease number and weaning weight (adjusted to 205 days). The only thing that is different, is when we decide to keep a heifer to include her in our herd.

As I’ve mentioned before in my blog, bull calves get white tags at birth, heifer calves get yellow tags. If a heifer is chosen to stay in the herd, she keeps that yellow tag until after she’s been bred with her first calf. Sometime between breeding and calving, those heifer tags are switched to a new cow tag, the chosen color for that year and a new number.

That’s why it’s so important to have those records. This way we can keep track of which calves came from which cow, which bull sired which calves, etc. This way, if we have really large calves, we can see if the bull is the problem, or if there are other genetic abnormalities or issues. Also, we can make sure that no heifer is bred to its own bloodline.

Boss Man writes down the calving information in a small notebook that he keeps in his pocket, then he transfers that information to his calving book that he keeps in the shop. We used to keep that information in the kitchen, so I could help with writing out tags and such, but one Easter morning, right before church, we found out that Scooter knew how to use a Z-tag marker.

What happens when you have a child find a Z-tag marker right before church on Easter Sunday. (Pic is of Scooter, Big Bro, EJ and their cousin)

So, needless to say, Boss Man does all his own tags now…in the shop.
On to Ag Book of the Day 7 – “Senses on the Farm” by Shelley Rotner.
I had the privilege of being able to be involved with the American Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher committee that read this book to a small, young classroom outside of Atlanta this year. It’s a great book, with great pictures, allowing lots of discussion and question-answering.

Calving by the numbers – Ag Book of the Day 5

I promised yesterday a calving post, but the day got away from me…I know, real shocker, right?

Here is the 2011 calving data:

2/11/11 – Starting date of calving

5 – cows left to calve, as of this posting

75 – number of bull calves

95 – number of heifer calves

9 – most calves in one day, including two sets of twins

2/19/11 – most sets of twins in a 24 hr. period (5 sets)

48 lb. – smallest calf (a twin)

130 lb. – largest calf (not a twin…but born by c-section, only vet call for an assisted delivery this year. Knock on wood.)

18 – number of sets of twins for this year

This group of twin calves is enjoying a day in the sun!

8 – number of sets of twins that were heifer/bull sets (I’ll get into why that’s important to know in another blog, but if you follow Cows_Life on twitter, you’d already know that answer!)

12 – number of calves that have died

3/17/11 – first day that we did not have a calf since calving began

165 – number of cows on the farm right now

170 – number of calves on the farm right now

This calf is a twin...notice the "B" on it's tag? There's an "A" to match!

 

And now onto today’s Ag Book of the Day:

“Buttercup, the Clumsy Cow” by Julia Moffatt and Lisa Williams. It’s a really cute book, focusing on how to make the most out of any situation. Yes, it’s silly, but you need some humor on the farm too! Plus, it still gives plenty of places where you can talk about real-farm stuff, like the dangers of wildlife to livestock, etc. Mostly, my boys just love it!

Lots’o laughs – Ag Book of the Day 4

Today is Pocket Day at school. The boys each put a joke (written on a piece of paper) in their pocket. Scooter’s joke was:

Why didn’t the skeleton cross the road?

Because he didn’t have the guts to do it.

I’m not sure which joke Big Bro went with, but he was taking advice from Scooter, so I can about imagine. Ah, the joys of young boy humor!

Today’s book is one that we read from a lot at night. It’s titled, “5-Minute Barnyard Tales for Bedtime,” with more than 90 stories by a variety of authors.

5 Minute Barnyard Tales for Bedtime

Now, the stories are great, most with moral lessons, but I will give you a heads-up, some of the animals talk. (I know for some parents, talking animals is a no-no in farm books.) But my boys know that our animals don’t talk. They also know that our hamburger comes from our cows and that our bacon and pork products come from pigs. So using their imagination for a story isn’t a big deal.

But again, the stories are GREAT! They are short and sweet and almost all of them have really great lessons that can easily be related to everyday situations. Plus, a lot of the farm situations are very accurate, which is something we end up talking about too.

And, as promised, later on today I will be putting together a blog recapping our calving season. We’re not completely done yet, but we’re pretty close.

Which means that spring MUST be here…somewhere.

Not-so-wordless Wednesday – Ag Book of the Day 3

Since it’s Reading Month at the school, I figured that it wouldn’t serve my purpose very well to go wordless today. But I am featuring a book that doesn’t have a LOT of words to it. It’s one of George’s favorites, and it is:

Large Slide and Find Trucks: Large Slide and Find Trucks

“Trucks” by Priddy Books. It’s a board book, with slide and find panels. And it’s GREAT! Most board books/lift-the-flap/slide-panels don’t last in our house. They are usually destroyed very quickly by little hands that aren’t careful, patient, etc. Not this one.

George can look at this book for HOURS and I do mean hours. It covers colors, different types of transportation, different kind of workers (not just farmers, although there are definitely tractors in it!). Again, it’s just another great book.

Today at school it was Bandana Day, “wrap up with a good book.” Big Bro was excited to wear a bandana to school. Scooter decided that he was to old for that stuff (which is totally unlike him). Oh well, to each their own.

There it is…my book of the day. But in keeping with the Wordless Wednesday theme, here’s some of my favorite George shots. Enjoy!

Don't mind my dirty face, I'm still cute!

Smile!

Look into my eyes...

Boxes aren't the only cheap toy!

Guess who will be 2 soon?

You might not be able to put Baby in a corner, but you can put George in a bucket!

Fabulous flannel – Ag Book of the Day 2

Today is Flannel Shirt Day at my boys’ school. I didn’t send them to school in flannel, because they decided they didn’t like wearing it a few years ago, and they are both at the age that they can decide what they want to wear, to an extent.

But I promised yesterday that I would give my Ag Book of the Day choices through the month of April, since it is Cultivating Reading Month at the school. Here is today’s pick:

It is “Good Morning, Farm!” by Catherine Nichols. It’s a Level 1 Reader from DK Readers, and it happens to feature mostly John Deere equipment. I like this book because it has real pictures, it includes many different types of farming (orchards, honey, milk, pigs, chickens, vegetables, grain, etc.) and it’s short and sweet and easy to read.

Enjoy!

Cultivating the future

I love my school.

Now, to clarify, I don’t ALWAYS feel that way, but who ever does? My sons attend the school that I graduated from…in 1995. In fact, they have had some of the same teachers that I had. Talk about a strange feeling, sitting across from your first-grade teacher, talking about your son! I still can’t call any of them by their first names.

This month is reading month. The theme??? Cultivating Reading. WOOHOO!

The whole month is focused on farming, agriculture, animals, etc. What a great opportunity! And you can bet I’m going to do my best to maximize it!

My plan is to shine the spotlight on a favorite ag book of ours, at least a few times a week. Now, as a disclaimer, I haven’t received approval or monetary donations from any of the authors…in fact, they haven’t a clue that I’m even doing this. I don’t know any of them personally (at least, not to my knowledge). But these are books that my family loves, and that we read together.

I’m an avid reader. I LOVE to read. I received a Kindle for Christmas and have already put over 100 books through it. (Hmmm…I may need to seek help.) I’ve been trying to instill in my children the same love of books, and so far, so good. Let’s hope it keeps rolling that way!

Today at school was “Hats off to books!” Day…or Hat Day. Scooter wore one of Boss Man’s farm caps, Big Bro wore a Cat-In-The-Hat hat. It was a Monday, and they were excited about school. Who could ask for more?

My book of the day?

It’s a great farm safety book, and one that we’ve read TONS of times! Plus, many county Farm Bureau’s sponsor safety days or safety camps, that reiterate what is taught in the book. It covers everything from ATV’s to cows to grain bins.

Do you have a favorite that you think I should check out? Something you’d like to see a spotlight on? I’d love to get more farm-favorite story books in our ever-expanding library! Tomorrow is Flannel Shirt Day – “Every which way with books.”

April is going to be a GREAT month!