Monday, August 6, 2012

Free Range Cow

I seem to have a problem describing to people what we do. I say farming and I see their mind drift off to the 100 (plus) cow dairy. I search for the right term, one can't just say farming anymore we have to say organic, or conventional. Are you grass-fed, or free range, how about sustainable, humane, or beyond organic? Then it hit me.

Years ago when we first started feeding the dogs raw it was called the BARF diet. BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. Biologically appropriate because dogs and cats are not meant to eat corn, Chicken By-Product Meal, or Thiamine Mononitrate. 
Penny eating a chicken neck

When you feed what nature intends an animal to eat then everything is balanced. When you actually understand how an animals digestive system works, how they eat, and how they move, not only will you have healthy animals, you have a lot less work. So I have decided that we are Biologically Appropriate Farmers. Not just biologically appropriate for the animals but for the land. By understanding what the animals need, allowing them to move with the land, with the weather, with the seasons then you will have a healthy happy farm.

So that brings me to Ezra, our new cow. Ezra is a Dexter, a true small breed standing between 3 and 3 1/2 feet tall at the shoulders. Believe me she has the cow presence, just not the stature.

Parker on the morning of his birth
The day after we moved Ezra had a beautiful bull calf, who kid1 named Parker. After a couple weeks we decided to move Ezra and Parker out to an area that Chuck had fenced in with electrical wire. After a few hours we noticed Ezra was out, we figured she went under the wire. Chuck lowered the wire and we put them back in. The next morning neither Ezra nor Parker were where we had left them. After at least an hour of trudging around in grass up to are waistline we finally found them. Both laying together on the backside of the barn just waiting for us to come get them and let them back into the barnyard.

That whole fiasco led us to free ranging Ezra. Every morning when I go out to milk Almond I let Ezra out. She spends all day out and when I go back to do evening chores she comes back in and Parker gets to nurse. We tried letting them both out but the dogs thought Parker would want to play, and he freaked out.

I have to say it is wonderful to look out the window and see Ezra eating fallen apples or grazing on the green grass.


Lisa said...

Hi! I read your blog all of the time when we moved to north central MN! We have a batch of puppies who need good homes. They were an oops litter that happened when I was in the hospial, but I really want them to go to good homes/farms. I was thinking about your farm today and thought I'd find your blog to see if you might like to have one and I see that you have moved! Darn, and that you already have a puppy!
I hope Wisconsin treats you well! Love the Dexter!

Duskwind Farm said...

Thanks for thinking of me Lisa! I think my husband would probably kill me if I took another dog- 5 dogs, 1 cat, and two kids might just be enough!

I hope you are feeling better.