Three dairy cows eat a lot of grass! This is certainly true of Rosie, Coco and Esmerelda. The Farmlet is just five acres, and subtracting the goat paddocks, house paddock, orchard, and the strip of native bush along the stream, the area to be grazed is a good deal less than that. Strictly speaking, we should be a 2-cow operation, and this is most obvious in the middle of winter when the growth of the grass slows down.
We are very lucky that our next-door neighbours have several acres of grazing land just over the fence. . . and no animals to graze it since they put their fat black steer in the freezer a couple of months ago. Of course, our cows have been keeping a close eye on the green grass on the other side of the fence, especially as the winter has advanced. They would be delighted to assist in keeping those paddocks nicely grazed. Our neighbours have lots of children, and would love to share some of the fresh milk we’ll be getting after the cows have calved. Also, with the extra grazing, we will be able to keep a couple of the calves to raise for the freezer, so that in due course we and our neighhours can enjoy delicious home-grown beef. It seems like this arrangement will work out really well for us and our neighbours.
In order to give our eager cows access to the grass on the other side of the fence, we needed to install a new gate. Kevin and I were a bit daunted by this task, but my Dad (who has swung a few gates before) was kind enough to come and help out. Kevin and Dad set to work on this project while I was mucking out the goat house. I returned to find that they’d dug a pretty impressive hole for the new strainer post. I think I could have jumped into that hole and vanished completely. . . although, maybe my pregnant belly would have got me stuck before I got all the way down!
The gate is looking good, though it still needs some finishing touches once the rain has cleared. As for the cows, they look wonderfully contented on their new pasture. From the neighbour’s paddock, they can look straight over the fence into the house paddock. We enjoy the chance to come almost nose-to-nose with them when we are out at the clothes line, or turnip bed.