Bees and Breeding cows

The bees were out in force yesterday. It was a wee bit warmer so out they came to look for food. But the freeze had knocked all the flowers over.

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I am feeding them their sugar water right at the hive now, determined that they will live through this winter.

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Sheila followed me about my chores.

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She thought she would give Boo a run for his money.  Actually Sheila was woofing with delight as she OUT-RAN the Uppity pup.bees-034

Boo peeled off when I called or he would have been back on his chain.

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Good morning. As you know Queenie Wineti was one of a twin. So I am still thrilled that she did get pregnant.  (So the tests say. But I won’t quite believe it until she starts to show real signs of pregnancy.)  She was always a long shot. The chances of a Hereford cow having twins is lower than most other cattle breeds. Plus the chance of a twin heifer being fertile is 5%.  Another way of looking at that – there was a 95% chance that she would NOT be fertile. When I found tiny Queenie the farmer told me that the other twin was a heifer too (though I never saw the other calf) so he thought there was a good chance that she would breed. And I decided that she would.   If the man was telling me the truth, then she is not a Freemartin.

(A freemartin calf is usually born co-twin with a male calf and its imperfection is attributed to the male hormones produced by the male calf as they share the common circulation which inhibit the normal development of genitalia of the female.This occurs mostly in cattle. I asked ASK .)

I decided that Queenie would be the mother of my beef herd, she is  short and stocky, wide and gentle. (And has all the necessary bits and pieces as far as we can tell).   So let’s hope that my long shot has a shot. Hereford calves are one of the cutest calves  - ever!

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It is the time of year when the animals and birds pause and hover when they sense a pockets worth of sun.

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I hope you all have a lovely day. Eat good food.

Your friend on the farm,

celi

62 thoughts

  1. The one cow I had in my herd that gave me the best milk and the best calves was a Swiss Brown… she was so gentle the kids would climb all over her and she just stood dead still… I use to breed her to a Hereford Bull which we owned, a huge beast of an animal… but he gave me such beautiful calves without a single breach or difficult birth for the cows… and those calves were just too cute for words….

  2. My goodness, Sheila is looking very err robust. Wise of Boo to peel off. Imagine if she stopped suddenly and he went up the back of her. Really would be the worst kind of rear end collision.

    • That would be the BEST shot though. I must try and train Sheila to stop on command. At the moment I think she is the best behaved animal on the property.. I have tried to put her on a diet, the winter will slim her down! c

  3. All of my experienced farmer friends told me the same when I acquired twin heifer calves last year. As I have conducted my dairy herdsman self studies all the textbooks echo the same.

    • Yes, I am pleased that Queenie is fertile, it was a long shot not having seen the other one.. I wonder though if a twin is more likely to have twin calves.. do you know?

  4. I love the “a pockets worth of sun” phrase also. Our sun is still going strong in Iowa and today I think is the day to finally clear up the yard and bring in all of the “summer” decorations and planters. It makes me sad even with beautiful fall colors I know what is just around the corner. I will soak up the sunshine as long as I can.

    • Yard work/garden work fini for me! All my fairies, frogs, and what not are packed away in my garden shed. Petunias and marigolds are still hanging in there! Soon to be covered with snow. But good news! My squirrel is back! I have been feeding him for three years now! Yippee!

        • Oh Beth…it’s early for it to be so cold here. I had to get it done between the field work, canning etc…or it wouldn’t have gotten done. Brrrrr……last night when I was unloading a truck of beans I was chilled to the bone! The temp dropped so fast! Wind chill…not used to it yet…doesn’t bode well for the winter.

  5. As my experience with other animals. There are instances where you have a sterile twin doe or ewe. But only when the placenta is shared with a male.

  6. That is one self satisfied piggie. :) Last weekend, when I drove down from the cabin and stopped at North Arm Farm, I had a walk thru their little farmyard and they have a giant pink sow. She was so enormous I couldn’t believe how enormous she was. But they also had a few Oxford sandy and blacks. Have you ever seen those pigs? Cutest pigs in the world. In that next life on my organic farm, those are the pigs I’d love to have. :) Hey, how did the soap making go round two? Did you have success? Bet you did.

    • Oh i must show you, so far the soap is fantastic, though a little drying to the skin in the shower, though it smells divine and lasts for ages) so the next one I make I am going to use olive oil instead of coconut oil. And I am going to find a lemon grass scent. So soon i will be making more.. c

  7. Good morning! Thanks for another farm lesson! My family didn’t raise livestock so I know very little about it. I wonder if it is the same with deer? Daisy had both a buck and a doe, and the doe survived (Rowdy was taken by that darned bobcat!). I do know that it is believed that the female of both sex twins will be a more dominant doe. I read it has something to do with the shared testosterone. I love your photos… and your models are SO photogenic!

  8. Good luck Queenie. Bad boo! Is Sheila pregnant? I hope you have better luck with the bees this winter – with all your care, you deserve it.

    Gale here was not too violent last night – a neighbour’s fence blew down, and there are many fewer leaves on the trees. I walked to the Post Office in sunshine this morning with my sticks, and if I could have, I would have run home (about 50 yards), when water suddenly fell out of the sky in solid sheets. As it was, a drowned rat opened the front door and dripped everywhere!

  9. Fingers and toes crossed for a healthy productive pregnancy!!!!! How exciting! Babies are so wonderful! Boo and Sheila were having a blast!!! Boo listens to the boss lady! ;) What a great sunny day!
    Are bees difficult to keep over the winter Celi? We have bee keepers here , but I think they move their bees to warmer places during the winter. Maybe to the Banana Belt in SD…I am not sure…
    Bee keeping is fascinating. Love their work ethic! When I work in my gardens they never bother me. We just go about our work together and there is peace throughout the land! I plant all the flowers that they love! Partners! :)
    When do your guests start…just out of curiosity? Not sure when you start your vacation! Marmalade and the gang are going to miss you terribly! So will all of us! (((hugs)))
    Sun is out today! But it is very chilly. Got the fleece tights and turtlenecks out this morning! Beans all in the bins! Yay! Thinking of ordering some flannel lined jeans! They look so toasty! :D
    Ttyl!

  10. I have flannel lined jeans, they are great!
    Sun is back and although still chilly in the mornings the afternoons are warm enough that I am still seeing lots of bees around. Trouble is if I leave my back door open they come into the my sunny kitchen, looking for somewhere to over winter? Much as I love them, the kittens go crazy trying to catch them and haven’t yet learned that they sting!
    Had a wonderful Sunday dinner yesterday – Roasted Pork chop (local farmer), potatoes (dug from the ground that morning) green beans (froze back in the summer) and baked apple (local Orchard) and custard (made from ‘real’ milk) for afters! The kind of meal that brings forth a big sigh of contentment at the end!

  11. Our bees are very busy here. There’s still flowers, a heather variety, and the trusty basil bush (rescued from the neighbor’s trash). Bees are so cheery.
    That’s a lovely pig race picture – such joy and personality.
    Yea for Queenie – always thought she was so lovely

  12. Slow-cooked Scottish oxtail with home-grown potatoes and red cabbage this evening. Really good food in my book! (I love pigs’ ears when they run!)
    Christine

  13. Tails and ears….no no no….not me! Nor tripe or haggus! Yikes! ;) One of the church ladies here bought all my chickens’ feet!!! Deep fried them I believe! Yikes! I know where those feet have been!!!!! LOL

  14. Always something to learn here on the farmy Celi – love that! Freemartin is a new one to me.
    Now you know I just HAVE to ask… how’s our little Marmalade doing?
    Enjoy the wee pockets worth of sun. :-) Mandy xo

  15. I didn’t know Queenie was a twin. Didn’t know you found her. I wasn’t here for the beginning so I will go back to your first posts. Don’t know how TonTon came to the farm either. Or Hairy. I do know the sad story of that horrible man who had Mama.
    Love Queenie’s curly hair.

    • I think Queenie came just before the blog began, in fact probably the spring before I started.. (I need to go back and check as well!) A farmer beef cow had had twins and as often happens one was rejected, and he agreed to sell her to me. So when we got her she was very small. Hairy I bought from a local sheep farmer and Ton I bought from a breeder after a long search for a short haired border collie. Queenie does have the most beautiful winter coat.. c

  16. What a wonderful piece of information about cow knowledge. Freemartin. I will remember that as we will be in the market for a heifer next year. Also, gotta tell you that I just love Sheila. Her attitude is priceless. Boo can practice being a heeler with her….she will flatten him if he gets too rough nipping at her heels, lol.

    WHAT? No cuteness again today? How can I go on with my week?

    Do bees hibernate in winter? Must you feed them sugar water all winter?

    • No I only feed them during the time between the flowers going and the freeze, which is very close. The bees huddle together in a ball with the queen in the middle and they keep each other warm.. this is why fluctuations in the weather are so bad. they come out of the ball to feed and fly outside for the toilet and get caught when it plummets again so i am hoping for a gradual freeze then a gradual thaw.. it is hard for bees out here… c

  17. Thank you for letting me and everyone how your critters came to be. Each experience acquiring them would be interesting. Like how you chose TonTon. And how old and big Hairy was. And pictures of Queenie when she was small. And I would love to pet her head, let my fingers get lost in those curls!

  18. Your weather looks lovely all be it chilly. We’re into winter, I’ve stopped wearing my open toe shoe and replaced them with socks and boots. My feet will be claustrophobic until next spring. I wish you good luck with Queenie. Hope you have a lovely evening.

  19. Leaving the farmy with quite a few bits of new knowledge ~ just how I like it!! Who would have ever thought that a city gal like me could begin to be able to talk a little knowledgeably about cows of all things :) ! Or worry about the bees overwintering!!

  20. Years ago a friend of mine was looking up the word “freemason” in the dictionary when he came across “freemartin.” Our circle of friends had an extensive conversation about the word, with observations such as “having a word for that sure must save a lot of time,” but in my experience, having that word TAKES more time because anytime anyone uses it in combat, it comes with the obiligatory definition (it’s such a cool word!).

    Another friend asked, “How would you even use that in a sentence?” and the answer was immediately proposed, “I ain’t no freemartin!” That phrase became a saying among us. I often use it as a reply to my dear wife when she asks if I have done something (such as taking out the garbage).

    So naturally, I love it when I get to see the word used for real!

  21. Sheila looks so happy with Boo in pursuit. Are you sure she isn’t part dog? I’ve seen that same look on any number of dogs at the dog park. Your daytime temps must be a bit higher than ours for I’ve not seen any bees at all. I hope your sugar therapy work and gets them through the Winter. I still haven’t adjusted to the fact that it’s coming — and sooner than later. Have a great night & morning, Celi!

  22. You do have a busy bunch of bees! One does not fully grasp Sheila’s size until seeing her next to Boo. Thanks for the cow education–I basically know they give milk. ;)

  23. I just stumbled on your blog and fell completely into your world for almost an hour reading blog post after post! I absolutely adore your life on the farm and the animals. I look forward to continued reads!

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