Welcome to Moosters Meadows - home of Irish Dexter Cattle! We strive to breed a truly dual purpose Dexter, providing both excellent beef and milk. All of our Dexters are purebred and registered with the American Dexter Cattle Association (ADCA). We'll be blogging about what goes on here on our little ranch in Wyoming and life with Dexters. Feel free to visit our website as well.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ramblings of a tired mind

Once upon a time, these hands were high maintenance.  With life on the ranch, it would be silly to even believe that a manicure would last for a day!  The green is ink from tattoos for the weanlings.  The band aid is for the needle hole through my finger (getting supplies ready for Chris to give inoculations - he's smart enough to wear gloves).  There are several more cuts here and there as well - all from holding anxious calves in the headgate.  Bruised knuckles are my new jewelry!  And I wouldn't have it any other way. 

And look what I found in the mostly dead flower garden outside the family room!  They have miles of sub-irrigated pasture to munch on, but they apparently prefer eating what's left of the perennials.  Then they move on to the garden where I find dozens of almost ripe tomatoes with a set of deer sized teeth marks in them.  They do leave them laying neatly around the plants though.  Most of my carrot tops are missing too.  Dang deer.
Stewie and his mom Luna.  We are so very happy that Luna has come to live with us.  She's everything Dexter packed into a little package.  What a totally sweet girl. 

Stewie is going to go to a State Fair or two with his mom, then he's going to be too old for the cow/calf pair routine.  He's old enough to be weaned anyway.  Soon Stewie!  Then he'll be for sale.  He thinks he's a big bull anyway, but he must be embarrassed when he can't reach water in the  big water tank if the water level is a few inches below the top.... Just sayin'.  Fortunately for him, we keep a little water tank just for him.

And last, but not least, we need rain.  We need rain.  We need rain.

Friday, August 10, 2012

A functional set of corrals

It's taken five years to perfect, but I think in the last few weeks we've finally managed to get it all right.  Today, Chris and our good friend Jared, finished the last of the fine tuning in the corrals!

A gate in the alley way to the squeeze chute.  Often one of us walks behind the cattle to encourage them to walk on through the chute.  Before gate, it meant running all the way back around or climbing the not so sturdy panel to quickly get to the chute to help with whatever was being done.  Now - no more not so sturdy panels.  They are affixed to nice big posts.  No more climbing over because we have a GATE in the right place!
A new shed from Shelter Sheds.  It has lots of potential uses.  Those are two stalls that can remain open all the time for shelter from the elements or can be closed individually to keep a Dexter inside.  Then there is the large open area; for the moment, it's for shelter.  At some point, we'll use one corner as a stanchion area for milking/milk training. 

We also added a small corral within the corral for segration purposes.  The front panel and gate come off for shelter access, but can be quickly put back on.  Our "old panel and gate" pile is now practically non-existent.  Some of them have been waiting for use since we bought them with the property!  Trying to decide if they need to be painted to match the building or if that's truly over the top!  Our little building matches the big Morton building behind it - right down to the copper trim! 

There are many more gates in all the right places now - no more climbing the fences! It's taken climbing the same fence in the same place over and over to define where the new gates were to go. We are going to be efficient and functional!

And finally, a picture of Gypsy Dance from this evening.  She looks so tiny next to the other older heifers that she was playing with in the pasture.  Her counterpart with a new momma, Charlotte, is doing better and better.  Very few bottles now and more milk from not one, but two substitute mommas.  You have to love Dexters who accept just any old kid who needs a bit of nourishment!  You also have to love friends who will take your "kid" home with them and bottle feed and provide extra mommas when needed.  Thanks again and again Kristi!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Our Little Weaners!

We're starting to wean the "kids" - much to dismay of what seems like every momma cow on the place.  It's loud out there.  A few were weaned earlier than this latest group.  They'll teach this little bunch about grain and hay arrival times and how nice it is to be brushed! 

This is Moosters Repeater, dun son of Winchester and Ruby.  He's amazing already and one of the two boys who get to remain bulls this year.  He's sold already!

We'll be introducing other of our weanlings.  Some of them will stay here; some are going to be for sale.  It feels like a zoo some days, but we love every single minute that we work with them.  They are fun to watch and even more fun when we get to play with them.

In other non-weaning news, we have two new babies this past week.  Both are little polled black heifers.  One has a momma who can't feed her.  Last Saturday night was a long night after we figured out that she wasn't able to nurse from her momma.  We were able to get momma in the chute and get a bit of colostrum milked out and syringed into this weak little girl.  She got to spend the night in the laundry room with some very special girls who came to help.   We are so fortunate to have friends like Kristi and her girls who literally drove over an hour to bring the right sized nipple for feeding (lamb sized), then stayed the night to help feed the packaged colostrum replacer that we did manage to have on hand.  No matter how well prepared you think you might be, you just aren't prepared enough!

Even more remarkable, they took little Charlotte home with them so that she could nurse our "milk cow in training."  She's still touch and go, but appears to be gaining a little strength now and is sucking on #22 (who is allowing it - good cow!) a bit more each day.  In the meantime, our amazing friends are supplementing with a bottle and lots of love!  We are grateful beyond words for them and their help.

Two days ago, little Gypsy Dance arrived!  She's a gorgeous double polled daughter of Rominy Raya and 'Dance.  She can run like the wind and turn on a dime.  She makes us laugh too!

She hurries to catch up with momma,

then disappears in the high grass before our very eyes!  What a tiny girl!

Monday, August 6, 2012

It's a Darn Shame

As far as we know, Cinder is the first Dexter shown at our county fair in the "Other Breeds" class (4-H).  While these two looked amazing, someone forget to mention to the judge that Cinder is a Dexter. He commented very favorably on her confirmation and looks, but put her in third because she didn't achieve her growth based on her age.  Oh.  After all the judging was complete, I did approach him and complimented him on his choices (we were of like minds on his choices in other classes).  Then I asked him if he was aware that Cinder was a Dexter.  Nope.  He knew about Dexters, but apparently didn't expect to find one at our little county fair.  Next year we hope to see the breed announced along with the exhibitor's name!  The judge was so sweet and apologetic too.

On the other hand, that's the reserve champion rosette you see in the picture above.  Callie was second in the Jr. Beef Showmanship!  It was her very first time out as well -- we predict great things for her next year (like Champion maybe?). 

Cinder was rewarded well when she returned to Moosters Meadows, but then got unceremoniously turned out into the pasture with the larger part of the herd since her show year is over.  It's so sad today - she's voluntarily come to the open corral, where she's waiting patiently for all the special treatment.  She just stares at us as if to say "but, but, I'm special, you know......"  And "hey!  where the heck is all that show feed and special hay!?"  Poor girl.

Lots of other Dexter happenings - and we'll try to get caught up soon.  Really.