This is David & Susan Sifford's journal of what we pray is our sojourn of life (Hebrews 11:8-10) along the narrow way (Matt 7:14), even the old paths (Jeremiah 6:16), submitting to the Bible as a light unto both (Psalms 119:105). It is our prayer that these documented moments in our earthly time benefit whom God might choose to edify, but ultimately that God glorifies Himself through them.

Category: animal husbandry (Page 1 of 13)

Cattle Update – Summer 2022

After our multi-year update from earlier in this year, I thought I’d catch everyone up with some video footage from this year.

It starts from back in February and finishes with an August update.

It’s been a rough year with one of the worst droughts ever here, and we’ve had to feed hay all Spring and Summer, but the Lord has provided, including the “novel” concept of raking up scattered hay back into piles everyday to conserve it. It seems to work great!…only 16 years to figure that one out. 🙂 But, we’re thankful to God for the idea.

Interesting turns of God’s providential workings in our lives: I mention in the video the several heifers that were supposed to go to a local person who wanted them. But, he was concerned the young ones might be a little small and susceptible to coyote attacks. And so, I thought it would be great to get him the older/larger ones first if possible, since we could only do 2-3 at a time, because we have to get them into our trailer and then do a back-back offload into his trailer.

The evening before we were supposed to try to round them up, I went out to check to see if any were in the corral to maybe trap them the night before. And what do you know but the black one, who is the oldest of the heifers, that doesn’t like range cubes, which is the only real way we have to control/lure the cows anywhere, was in the corral. I figured I was going to have to lure the whole herd through the corral to be able to trap her, but there she was. And so, I nonchalantly walked through the gate and to the open end of the corral, and closed it up! Wow! She was in! And then, it wasn’t much after that to get her into the chute to the back of the trailer, and she went in actually like she wanted to be in there. Excellent!

Later that day, the next oldest I also found in the corral, was able to trap her in there and get her loaded too! Wow again!

And so, the next day, the fellow came here, and we got the heifers to swap trailers, and they were off.

Well, a couple of days later he texts me asking if they had normally jumped fences, because they had his, and they were now both in 2 separate herds of his neighbors. Arg. I said they hadn’t, and that I would have at least told him about that if they had done anything like that with us. In trying to figure out what happened, I guess the black one was giving the second/red one a hassle, and red said, “Gotta go!”, and maybe since other herds were around, she/they were trying to find the herd. Or it was maybe just to be with the other herd. But, we’re still not sure what happened.

Continuing, he then said that he was just going to sell them because they wouldn’t be able to handle that situation. And so, sigh, I said he could bring them back if he wanted. And he did.

I found it a very odd providence of God for bringing the situation where the loading of those 2 heifers went so surprisingly smooth, only to have them back here on the land.

And well, that was that, I thought.

But, a week or more later, he texts back and asks about the other 3 heifers, and that he’d like to try with them. I believe he had done some fence work to try to keep them from going over anymore. Ha! More interesting hand of Providence workings.

And so, we were able to get the other 3 loaded and into the trailer the next day, and he came, and we swapped them into his trailer, and now they were off.

And that’s been a couple of weeks now or so, and things are holding apparently, so it looks like those are going to work for him. He also did mention he might like to come back and get one of the first 2 because he thought she was a pretty one, and given his extra fence work, and I suppose because the other 3 are there, and the black one is not, that it might be different this time. Anyway, we thank the Lord those 3 are working out.

I still don’t know what all the rigamarole was with the first 2 and then them coming back, etc., but may we always trust His dealings with us in our lives.

Proverbs 3:5-6 - "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

And now, onto the video:

As always, we are thankful to the Lord for His provisions!

— David

Young 2022 Turkeys – Update I

With the chicken mommies hatching out a 2nd group and 3rd group of turkey chicks, and them continuing on in the brooder barn, and them getting big enough it seemed to not only cause ruckus in the brooder barn, but also because it’s just better to get them outside as quickly as possible, it was time to graduate them to freedom, and life with the rest of the turkey flock and homestead!

This was going to be something of an experiment, because in the past we’ve always sent them out with their turkey mommy to lead the way, so we were hoping despite that that they would stay around the homestead and go into the barn at night.

Sadly, by this time, one of the young turkeys caught a disease or something, and eventually didn’t make it. 🙁 And so, from the original 13, there were now 12, which we show in the following video starting with the day of the release, and then their adjusting to the outside world:

Today, they are all pretty much doing well. I believe I injured one’s leg when trying to manually round them up one night because they weren’t going into the barn (which they had been doing just fine by themselves up to that point), and it’s still limping. And another has something wrong with one of its eyes…maybe a small infection? Not sure, so they spend a lot of time in the barn, often together, although the limping one just a little while ago today was looking pretty weak, so I pulled it and put it in its own cage back in the brooder barn so it has unencumbered access to water and turkey (wild game) feed, which maybe being as small as it is it still needs. We do ask God He might grant them recovery.

But generally, the other 10 or even the eye one too roam around like they own the place, 🙂 although we do still have to direct them a little into the barn at night sometimes.

But, we do thank the Lord for their continued general health and safety, and pray He might continue to grant that to them!

— David

Cattle Update – 2016-2021

The last time we did a cattle update was when a little heifer was born back in 2015! I’m not sure why I haven’t followed up more…I think once I got behind, it just kept being pushed off because of how long it might take to do.

But now, without further ado, I thought I’d try to get everyone up to through last year (note that not all the cattle shown were/are Sue and mine personally)…

2016

At this point, our very kind and generous neighbor was letting us run the cattle on his land…some 400 acres! And so for those years, we didn’t have to buy hay, which was really nice! And so, here they are…

Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Calves
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Ami & Calf

Here’s the herd sire who wasn’t ours personally, Manolete:

Longhorn Manolete

2017

We didn’t apparently take many pictures this year, as they are all of cattle headed off somewhere:

Longhorn Bull
Longhorn Bull
Longhorn Bull

2018

This is Mateo who eventually became the herd sire after Manolete in 2019, which you can see as a little calf on this blog post:

Longhorn Mateo
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cow & Calf
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cattle

While over on our neighbor’s property, we finally put up a somewhat decent corral to be able to…well…corral them for loading into trailers. 🙂

Cattle Corral

2019

Well, early in the year, our neighbor said he was turning his place into a wildlife reserve, so he graciously gave us about a month to get our land ready, which involved shoring up fences, etc.

And here they are back on the land. It was nice to have them back, actually:

Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cattle

We moved the corral to our place, and here they are during “cube” time:

Longhorn Cattle Cube Time
Longhorn Cattle Cube Time

Ummmm….yeah….

Cattle Looking in the Car
Longhorn Cattle

One day, Amistosa, our best looking Longhorn as far as pure Spanish traits, came strolling up really skinny. I thought to give her some special feed, which I had given her before when she had gone down just before one of our worst cold spells here (which you can read about in this blog post), because it had worked before, and I did, but I guess I had given her too much, as she ended up extremely bloated.

We shoved a bunch of baking soda down her, which helped some, but over the next several weeks, including a vet visit, she never quite recovered.

One morning, when I was out of town, Sue found Ami fallen over in a little ditch that led to a small watering hole in our inner area, which is where we were taking care of Ami, and she was just struggling and rolling around, and just looked in a bad way, so Sue made the executive decision that she just wasn’t going to make it, so Sue solicited the help of a neighbor here, and he graciously helped to put her down.

Amistosa

When I got back home, we wanted to move her to a final resting spot under some trees in our north field, and so we hooked up a chain around her horns and towed her up there:

Amistosa

…and then said a final goodbye…goodbye Ami…you were one of our first group of cows for us. We thank the Lord for all the offspring He granted from her…

Amistosa

2020

Continuing on, it indeed was nice to see the cows around the house:

Longhorn Cattle

…and out our front porch:

Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Calves
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cattle

2021

And finally, onto last year…

Longhorn Rosa & Calf
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Natilla & Calf
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cattle

Here’s herd sire Mateo again, a little older now. However, he started going through and jumping over (after fixing the “going through” the fence”) to our neighbor’s property, the gentleman who let us run our cattle on this land those years ago. He was nice about it, but I couldn’t control Mateo anymore, so I sadly had to dump him at the sale barn. Bye, big guy!

Longhorn Bull Mateo

But now lastly, to close this blog post off, here’s the compilation video across the years (I was wrong in the video with the 2 fighting bulls in the back of the trailer about how old they were…it was actually 1 1/2 and 2 years old):

We are always thankful to the Lord for His provisions of the cattle, the meat He’s granted from them, the sales to be able to pay for hay over the winter, and the provisions on the land He’s granted to feed them through the growing times!

— David

Goat Breeding Time 2021!

Early November means goat breeding time — time to put our billies and nannies together in hopes the Lord might graciously grant offspring starting in April, when usually it’s starting to warm up!

Even though we tried to keep some new does we kept from last year’s offspring away from the bucks, one got to one of them and had kids, and one didn’t, and so this year is her first time with the boy goats!

And without further ado, here’s the adventure from this year!

 

As always, we are grateful to the Lord for His continued provisions, and we pray He might grant offspring, according to His will!

— David

Texas 2021 Arctic Blast: Our Homestead’s Version

Here’s a little around our homestead at the beginning and end of Texas’ 2021 arctic blast!

This was after the first main night — snow and cold, with forecasted windchills down to -18F. These were I believe our worst temperatures we’ve experienced here, even after the 2011 freeze. The thermometer says about 4F:

4F on the Thermometer

Here’s the homestead:

Frozen Homestead
More Frozen Homestead

I was a little worried about the cattle, given there are some young ones, but thanks to the Lord, they all made it through ok!

Cattle After Freezing Snow Storm
More Cattle After Freezing Snow Storm
Another of Cattle After Freezing Snow Storm

During the week, Sue’s “onesy” (coveralls) in front of the wood burning stove was the favorite for the domestics:

Mimi in the Onesy
William in the Onesy
Tuscan & Leila on the Onesy

On the first day after a week of these freezing temperatures, things started getting back to normal. Here’s our resident stray hanging out on the cistern spigot, which we had double wrapped with blankets the whole time, allowing us to use it too whenever we needed:

Mimi-Dude on the Cistern Spigot

And here are all the goat accoutrements hanging on the fence after Sue took them off:

Goat Coats on the Fence

Those were just a few pictures, but we show a lot more in this video, which has the day after the first main night as above, and then after coming out of it 5 days later (including a surpise from a momma cow!):

All throughout, the Lord was merciful in granting all the animals come through (yes, that missing rooster from the video showed up!), and helping Sue and me with strength to do all the care-taking!

We have no grid electric or water, which actually worked to our advantage, as we always had electric and good water as needed. We pray for those still suffering from the effects, but also hope people might consider their situation and on whom or what they depend for life sustenance.

We also saw how we believe God pre-set up provision before we really knew what was coming, even though they seemed a little “cross” to us at the time: the boy goats had knocked off the top of their hay bale, but Sue just took that hay into the barn, and it ended up being their main food for the week; and I had pre-put out hay bales for the cows, and one had been eaten down a lot and spread out by the time the cold hit, and another spread around some, but those also afforded bedding for the cattle. Also, both the tractor and truck starters went out at the same time a few weeks ago, we needed both for this cold front, and so they were ready to go.

Once again, we are very thankful for God’s help through 2021’s arctic blast, and for the gift of the new little heifer calf!

— David

Goat Breeding Time 2020!

It was that time of year again, to put our male goats and females together for mating season. We wait until now to try to get any offspring being born in April, when most of the cold weather is typically over.

This year, we had kept two of our female goat kids in order to increase the herd, but didn’t want to breed them this year as we feel they are just a little too small still.

And so, we moved them to their own field, and put the billies and nannies together, and here’s the video of all that fun and frolicking adventure!

We thank the Lord for His continued provisions, and pray He might grant the offspring next year, according to His will!

— David

New Pig Pen Fencing – Update I

One thing out here is things seem to go much more slowly than anticipated. 🙂 God’s providence as first cause — His bringing about all things according to His will and plans — but, by means of other priorities becoming more important, other things to fix, etc.

Well, back in 2016, I started replacing our old pig fencing in the main pig pen with new cinder block/cattle panel fence sections I started making as part of an extension to the original pig pen back in 2014.

Last year, I started getting back to working on this main pig fence area, and recently finally finished all the panel sections and got them in place! Yea! 😀

In the 2016 blog post above, I show in the video the first few sections being done. And here is a picture from 2017 of the whole one side being done:

New Pig Pen Siding, Side 1 Complete

And here are some more ready to haul over using our goat shack caddy:

2 New Pig Pen Cinder Block Cattle Panel Sections Ready for Hauling

Once there, I opened the previous fence line:

Opened Pig Pen Side

And started dragging them in, sliding one end at a time back and forth:

Sliding Section
More Sliding Section

And stood and scooted them into place:

Siding Section in Place

It’s like a parade! 😉

Sliding More Sections

And here’s that whole back side done:

Pig Pen Side Two Done
Pig Pen Side Two Done, Other Direction

Then, it was off to the short sides. After cleaning out the previous fencing and t-posts, I slid the panels in place, and here’s the first short side done. What’s nice about these cinder block cattle panel sections is you can curve them around, which helps when trying to join with another fence line where there is no corner post:

Pig Pen Short Side Done
Pig Pen Short Side Done, Other Direction

This is the last side before cleaning out the previous fencing…lots of previous hacking at it to try to keep it acting as a fence: 🙂

Old Dilapidated Fencing
More Old Dilapidated Fencing

And here’s that last side, finally done!

Final Pig Pen Siding Done
More Final Pig Pen Siding Done

I just have to wire them all together now, and then Lord willing we’ll perhaps test it all out with a new piggy or two! 😀

Always we are thankful to the Lord for His provisions, and safety in working with these things — even though one person can move them, they’re still pretty heavy, and I have strained my back before, but God mercifully granted that I not this time, and I am thankful!

— David

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