Today our attention was drawn to a cow pie. As I took Ruby’s (eight month old calf) halter off and she contentedly stood in her feed pan, Mary Lynn commented “that’s a pretty cow pie”. How can a cow pie be anywhere near nice looking? Well let me tell you. First, it is a gauge of our pastures. In spring when so much is fresh, tender and the cows eat very happily, their pies are moderately loose, which is good. Too loose is not, and too stiff is not good either. It’s now half into the year, July is tomorrow, and the cows still have good pies. We are pleased as the pastures are lush and growing hard, which means ample rain and nutrients.
Second, maybe we are learning to manage the pastures better. Initially, I tried all summer to stockpile grass in the pastures, that is to leave it taller. It seemed like a good idea until we got to watching and seeing what was happening. The grass got tough and stringy. Holly, who has a very narrow mouth and jaw area would become impacted, filling her cheeks, under her tongue, and even down into her throat with improperly chewed grass, which means I have to go in and pull all that material out. And that is not fun as cow teeth are sharp as razors. If not done she can’t eat or drink, and that’s not good. Also, the wrong weeds began to invade. Thistle, briars, and the like will try their best to absolutely ruin a pasture. So we mow the pastures often, and in strips, keeping the grass new, fresh and tender. Guess people who drive by think I can’t make up my mind where to mow. But the cows like to graze on each pasture, so I usually mow a third of each then move on to the next and then start over again.
So, cow pies are a beautiful thing, you just have to look at them in the right light, and maybe hold your nose.
Until next time, take care.