Yesterday I brought home the first of Hoosier Heritage Farm’s cattle herd. It has been 17 years since this farm has had cattle on it, and I’m glad to see them return. This is a modest start—we only purchased two in this first batch—but more are coming, and I couldn’t be happier with the quality of these first two. They are purebred Black Angus calves that were born in March of this year. They were weaned from their mothers only a couple weeks ago. I like that they were with their mothers for 6 entire months. Many breeders will wean as early as 4 months, but I think the delayed weaning makes for a better calf. It gets them off to a good start—at only 6 months of age, they already weigh about 600 lbs each.
They are gentle creatures—for cattle at least. Even after a trailer ride and being released into a new and unfamiliar pasture, with unfamiliar people around them, they seemed to settle right in. They made the obligatory jaunt around the circumference of the pasture to see if there were any holes in the fence (I put them in the only pasture where I know the fence is good!), and then they pretty much immediately started enjoying the nice green grass under their feet. They are still a little unsure of all these new and unfamiliar people, but that will change as they get into their new routine.
This morning I got up to check on them, and after ensuring they hadn’t found a way out through the fence, I was happy to hear them “moo.” Ok, this might be a bit weird, but I love that sound early in the morning! Cattle often vocalize in the mornings. I like to think that they are greeting the new day, and are expressing their contentment. I know that’s probably a bit too anthropomorphic, but it is enjoyable nonetheless. I gave them some hay last night, and this morning they had cleaned it all up. I’ll take that as their approval of their new home!
Next month we’ll be getting four more head of cattle from the same breeder, and possibly another four from a friend of mine who has a farm in southern Indiana. I’m looking forward to expanding the herd. Already we are making plans to expand our pasture too. I have about 30 acres of soybeans that will be harvested in the next couple weeks, and as soon as they are out we will be planting that to grass. So next year our pasture area will expand from about 8 acres to 38 acres.
Hmmm . . . better get started building fence!