Friday, August 04, 2006

Changing Pastures and Fence Check

The cows responding to my call
Changing the cows from pasture to pasture occurs approximately every 30 days. I have the farm divided in half. On one half there is about 40 acres of pasture and on the other half there is about 40 acres of pasture plus the cows have access to about 40 acres of forest which gives some grazing and lots of shade during the heat of the dog days of summer.

One of the fence lines on the far end of the farm

Before changing pastures, the first thing that needs done is to check the fences to see if any are broken. If there are broken fence lines then they are repaired. If a tree has fallen across the fence, it needs cut up for firewood. If the tree happens to be a wild cherry then it is imperative to make sure that all of the wilted leaves are removed from the pasture so the cows cannot eat them. Wild cherry leaves in a fresh condition straight from the tree will not harm the cows. The problem arises when the wild cherry leaves are in a wilted condition. In a wilted condition, if eaten by the cows, there is a high likely hood that the cow will come down with a condition called BLOAT. BLOAT is the build up of gas in the body of the cow, which happens quickly with wilted wild cherry leaves, and can kill a cow in a matter of hours. The actual cause of death in a bloat death is suffocation as the build up of gas in the cow’s body hinders the lungs from doing their job of bringing oxygen into the body.

The second thing that needs done is to make sure that all of the gates to the new pasture are closed. No matter if the gate is 1/2 mile away or further, if it needs to be closed it gets closed, no guessing or speculating.

The third I do is go to where the cows are and call them first with a sound like a conch shell.


They immediately respond with moooooooooooooos as their heads turn towards me and they start walking to me. As they come along, I call out some of their names like Vraja, Gita, Bhumi, Bhima. Come on Asha, come on Radharani, Ujvalla come on girl lets go and then more conch shell sounds


It is now possible to move the 22 cows/oxen with just one person who speaks the language of these cows.

As they come through the gate into the new pasture, I call each by name, count them, and take a close look to see that they are all all right.

It’s pure nectar to see everyone partaking of the fresh grasses and herbs in the new pasture


Madhava Gosh said...

"Healthy cherry leaves contain prunasin, a cyanide precursor that in itself is non-toxic. When the leaves are damaged, the prunasin molecule is split and free cyanide (also called prussic acid or hydrocyanic acid) is liberated. Many plants, especially those in the rose family, have the potential to produce toxic levels of cyanide under certain conditions. Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) is also toxic. There are reports of peach sprouts, leaves, and pits poisoning sows. Apricot pits and apple seeds are toxic as well."

Jeff said...

Howdy & thanks for the conch shell trick.
Fresh Cherry leaves are toxic, see this study:
be well, Jeff