About a week after we closed on the farm, we were ready to bring a couple cows on to the property. I use the term “ready” loosely. We were still waiting on a delivery of hay bales that would help supplement the grass, particularly during the winter months. The day these girls were delivered we also had to make a run to the local feed supply to grab a mineral bucket (a tub of vitamins they lick on) and grains (for treats).
As far as being mentally ready to take on the largest pets we have ever owned, well, I still had my doubts. We had done our research by talking to Highland breeders, and there would always be reasons, even logical ones, to postpone a big decision like that. Ultimately, we figured there was no better experience than learning firsthand.
So we pushed through and coordinated with breeders from two different farms to get the deliveries lined up, so the cows wouldn’t have to spend much time alone. It was already going to be a stressful experience for them to load up and leave their herd behind.
One of the dumb questions we asked in our first few months was, “what is the difference between a heifer and a cow?” We kept referring to them as cows, and I still do just for ease. Also, for some reason heifer sounds like a synonym for fatty to me. You can imagine the person we asked was nice enough to try and hide her shock at how basic that question was, and she told us these two heifers wouldn’t be considered cows until they had been bred and had their first calves.
We also didn’t have those hay bale hooks that have a handle with a curved Captain Hook-like piece used for stabbing the hay and moving it around. One of the breeders was surprised when my husband just grabbed a bale in each hand and started walking toward the barn. He’s pretty strong, but he was happy to switch to the bale hooks they let us borrow.
Those first hay bales were small and rectangular, but later that week we got a delivery of the giant round 700 lb. bales. I got to use the forklift on the tractor to lift some and stack them in the barn for storage.
It was really fun to see how the dogs interacted with the cows. The pug acts aggressive toward the large animals he watches on T.V., but in real life he was much more cautious with the cows. The beagle wanted to steal whatever grain he could forage for on the ground. Ella and Sandra Dee were curious about the dogs but not at all territorial.
The cows have turned out to be really low maintenance, which was my main concern when we got them and were commuting downtown most days. It’s so picturesque to wake up and see them wandering around the fields out the window, and I’m really happy they help make this place a real farm.