Difference between a Heifer and a Cow…and other fun facts!

19 Mar

Where has time gone!?! Rest assured we are still here and we have been working hard! Just not on the computer….  (oops!)

We have moved little sister (me) and her husband in as they are now farming with Britt Farms! Of course that meant lots of unpacking, painting, cleaning and training her husband on the daily operations of the farm. He is doing great and loving every minute of it! We were a little nervous that the harsh conditions of winter while feeding cattle would scare him off, but he has adapted well and is really getting a feel for the well being of the livestock. This winter we calved 60 new heifers!  Randy took the 11 PM shift, Ryan B had the dreaded 2 AM and Ryan E woke up before the rooster at 5 AM. If a heifer was having any trouble calving then they would call for backup so often times that meant little to no sleep and then a full days work as soon as the sun came up! Needless to say we ALL celebrated when that last heifer calved!  Praise God though we were blessed with a 95% birthing success with these new mommas! (Reminder: A heifer has not calved before. A cow has at least calved once.)

Here’s a picture of a new, proud momma with her baby!

Heifer with calf

Even with spring still at bay here in North Central MO, we are thankful for all of the new signs of life! Calving can be a hard, stressful, exhausting season. However, the rewards of seeing that new life take it’s first breath, discover it’s mother and watch a new mom work and work at cleaning off her baby, warming it up with each lick and protecting it from the wind by gently nudging it to the best position and standing between it and the bitter gusts is simply amazing. Those are precious moments to witness in creation.

Here’s another favorite pic from our farm this week….you can almost hear the calf thinking, “Geesh, Mom! My friends are watching!”…

Cow licking calf

As we mentioned earlier, the youngest of the tribe with her husband moved back from Louisville, KY in December. Here’s her (my) handsome husband! He has learned how to help care for the cattle daily by feeding hay, filling mineral tubs, checking (and sometimes fixing) the watering systems and fences, tagging new calves, banding steer calves and evaluating the overall condition of the animals.

Ryan uses the spikes to pick up the bales in one location, drive them out to the pasture and unroll them for the cattle. The spikes are motorized and Ryan can control them from inside the truck.

Feeding Hay with Truck

He cuts off the plastic wrap which had kept the bale rolled tight since last summer and prepares the bale to be unrolled! Sometimes he has to gently push the cattle away as he does! They literally breath down his neck trying to get to the yummy hay!

So handsome….

Ryan feeding hay

After the hay is fed he periodically checks the mineral feeders and refills them as needed. Mineral provides extra nutrients and vitamins to the cattle to keep them healthy in the pasture. As a reminder, we do not use hormones or steroids on our cattle. We are happy to provide healthy, corn/grass-fed, natural beef.

Here’s Ryan filling a mineral tub.


These specific tubs were created and designed by Ryan Britt (my brother). The cattle can lift the rubber flap with their noses (as pictured below) and lick out the mineral. Since we do rotational-grazing, we needed to be able to move the tubs easily from one paddock to another. Ryan B included a place to hook on a chain so the tub could easily be drug across the pasture by a four-wheeler or ranger. With the bottom piece being a strong rubber tire, we don’t have to worry about the mineral tub falling apart or busting open as it is pulled over any rough terrain.

#113 says, “YUM!”….or she’s just making a goofy face for the camera….


Once again, we hope you found this post to be informational and helpful in understanding the daily activities of modern farming!  Keep an eye out for a new, beefy recipe this weekend! We have had some fun in the kitchen this winter!

Thanks for supporting agriculture and Happy Ag Day!

Blessings, from Britt Farms


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Posted by on March 19, 2013 in Beef Facts, Life on the Farm, Photos


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