I’ve had a great cattle learning week. I’ve been in Alberta visiting with dairy farmers and learning from cows. Working with these milk producing machines is very interesting to me.
The cows work in such a way that when you make a mistake it’s very obvious, yet they give you time to work on the mistake. Things are in a little slower motion, and it gives you time to work on the mistake you made. With more athletic cattle the problem you create creates another problem that you have to address so you miss working on the first problem, so we get real good at fixing problems we create.
The main challenge with gentle or unathletic (that’s my own word) animals is creating and maintaining movement. It’s so easy to take any movement you get out by ether not releasing pressure in the right amount, or by going in the direction of movement, and that slows or takes your movement out, and then you end up shoving the cows everywhere you try to take them and they don’t like it.
I found the same thing with colts I got to start. The real snorty ones were actually the ones that were the easiest to change, but the somewhat dull and gentle colts were the ones you could really learn about the right pressure and release of pressure to get the results you were looking for.
It is amazing to me to learn just how good cows are at figuring things out. One dairy we were at was a robot dairy. This was a red robot so the cows don’t go into a pen but simply walk in the robot. (No holding pen)They get a feed reward for coming in. After they come in and get milked the robot doesn’t repeat the reward until it’s ok to milk again. This herd was averaging 3.5 milking per day for the herd. If they go back in to soon they are not supposed to get feed, but a little bit is dispensed by accident. We watched three jersey cows circle around and around to the snack vending machine to get a small bit of feed. There is a wire that hangs down that give the cow an electric stimulation (not really a shock, but more of a tickle as they want no negatives to happen at the Milker) to get them to leave after the gate opens. It can be set for a certain amount of seconds. We timed it and those three cows new exactly when it was time to leave before they got the stimulus. It was real fun to watch these cows welfare the system. Very smart and they entertained us and themselves, but I think they may have kept some cows from coming to the machine.
I wonder just how much we are missing in our understanding of animals and how much our missing it is costing us in profit and quality of life?
Think about it while your having a big cold glass of milk.
This is a show My old friend Ernie Rodina is doing. They have a whole network of different shows but this is Ernies. Tammy visited a great guy to be around, and if you know the world of AQHA competition, Al Dunning knows how to win.
Its a fun show, with lots of helpful info.
If you read the scoop loop last week you will remember that wife Tammy was gone for a little over a week. You might also recall me telling about when a few years back, being gone and coming home to some bulls that were locked off water. I said I new immediately something was wrong.
Well she flew in to Billings at 10 p.m. a few nights ago and we got home about 11:30 after waiting for luggage and the drive home. I was bringing things into the cabin and making sure old dog Huckleberry was alright I went into the kitchen and Tammy was watering her plants. They looked pretty thirsty, and they were cactus.
I couldn’t believe it, and felt terrible. I never gave them a thought, and never even noticed them the whole time I was home alone. As soon as Tammy came in she could see something was wrong. No gate had blown shut, I had just not even seen the needs of the plants.
How much am I missing in this world, if I don’t even notice something in my own house that I spend lots of time with? We don’t have TV, so that’s not taking all my time. I read a lot, but I also spend a little bit of time just looking at the cabin and how it’s built and all the stuff we have in it like some nice bits, some rawhide, and the is a real nice Will James painting I study sometimes. But the only living thing in the house that really needs my care I missed.
So a valuable reminder that I need to become more aware of everything around me, especially the things that require my care and observation.
I don’t know if cactus have feelings, but I do, and I am not satisfied with my Stewardship abilities in the cabin. I didn’t do what was important. I didn’t “see it”.
It’s interesting how water or the lack of was the important thing in both scenarios.
The bulls recovered fine before, and I guess the plants are too. I’m not sure what they looked like before, but I’m figuring out what they should look like from here on.
We did that YouTube video several years ago. If you know Ryan now, you would not recognize him because he lost a bunch of weight. Ron Gill and I are still doing Stockmanship and Stewardship for NCBA and this year the Chase DeCoite and crew at NCBA are stepping it up and offering a regional S and S program that will be a two day format. Check out the website