How many cows do I have? This is a question that I face quite often. The simple answer, of course, is that I have no cows. While my grandfather often talked about a few shorthorn cows he and his grandfather raised on our farm there were no cows on our farm while I was growing up. I spent most of my youth helping my father care for his pigs as well as helping my grandfather raise and feed his steers (for those who may be thinking that a steer is a cow, there is a difference). I also had a few animals of myself, mainly pigs and lambs that I raised as 4-H projects and one year I had 50 chickens…now THAT was an experience!
Now, back to my cows. Up until the day I got married I do not remember any cows on our farm, then six bred purebred Simmental bred cows showed up the day Pam and I got married. While I didn’t admit it at the time to my new wife, I had very little knowledge about how to care for cows…how hard could it be anyways, ya just throw them out in a green pasture and let them eat grass …right?Well, I found out its not exactly that simple, perhaps a few of my experiences learning how to care for my wife’s cows will be a good blog post in the future. Anyways, as most newlyweds do, Pam and I talked a lot about our dreams and aspirations, she wanted 30 cows and of course I thought we only had enough grass and space for about 20. As most of you can guess after a very short amount of debate on this subject we decided 30 cows would fit real nice here on our families farm.
That was six, errrr…seven years ago and those six cows had calves, some of which we kept for replacements to add to the herd along with picking up a few cows from other breeders along the way.Last summer I noticed that the herd must be getting close to about 30 cows, to my surprise when I asked Pam how many cows were around she replied with a big smile “45”. Immediately I went into panic mode as it is my responsibility to make sure there is enough feed around throughout the year, and there was no way we had enough hay to feed 45 cows all winter and with the rough summer weather I knew it would be hard to find extra hay to buy from others in the neighborhood. So we began to discuss our original thoughts from seven years ago and decided to work our way back down to 30 cows by the time winter hit.
So back to the original question, how many cows do I have? None. Pam, however, has 38 cow’s all of which have either already calved or will calve this year, 14 replacement heifers, one mature bull, three replacement bulls and three steers. As you can tell, we didn’t quite make it down to 30 this winter, but I was able to find enough hay to keep them more than satisfied!