I just want to shout out my husband for a minute. Tyler is constantly brainstorming ways he can improve the farm from both a functionality and aesthetically standpoint. Our visions are very aligned with where we would like to be with the flowers and cows in 5+ years and I feel so blessed to be on the journey with him.
Over the winter we noticed the mineral feeder was past it's prime. The covering was no longer attached and rain/snow fills the feeder. We also noticed the cows were flying through mineral faster than kids on Halloween. First thing first, we need to transition our cows to a better mineral program. We have been battling feet issues and I honestly wonder if it is because they are deficient in a certain nutrient.
I have been conducting a lot of my own health research and so many of us are deficient in essential nutrients, I am thinking it might be the same for the cows! We need to be supplementing these nutrients like calcium, copper, cobalt, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, sulphur and zinc in their diets. Loose mineral or mineral blocks help us to do just that!
According to Clover Meadow's Beef: Mineral helps with cattle nutrition in three basic areas:
1. Reproduction – Making sure that our cows have the correct levels of minerals in their bodies helps them to conceive.
2. Calf Health – When the mother cow has the correct mineral source, her calf is healthier.
3. Immune function – Healthy cattle means they have a better overall immune system and they can fight diseases naturally.
We plan to start the cows on a consistent mineral program that was recommended to us by our feed co-op. The plan is to also provide the cows with a protein tub this winter to help boost their energy. We had some calving issues last spring and we want to help prepare their bodies for labor.
Cows are so smart, they know how much their body needs to consume. We place the mineral feeder by a water source to make it readily available.
Okay so now we know the plan for mineral but what about the feeder? We could easily go purchase a new mineral feeder but Tyler is so resourceful. He was researching on YouTube and found a DIY mineral feeder that could be pulled behind the four-wheeler.
1) Tyler recycled an old barrel on the farm.
2) Next he cut a large hole in one side.
3) Then ran to a local tire and asked for an old semi tire. One that they were scrapping.
4) After returning home, Ty attached the barrel to the tire and added an eye bolt to make it possible to attach a chain.
5) Last, he put our DIY mineral feeder to the test! The cows are quick learners and found it right away. So far it has worked great! We can easily drag it with the four-wheeler which is nice when we rotate the cows to a new pasture.
We are set and ready for winter... at least when it comes to mineral haha. I don't know if the farm will be fully winterized for a while yet haha.
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