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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Flat Aggie Visits Central Kansas During Calving Season

Hello!  My name is Jamie Peters.  I started farming and ranching with my husband, Ryan 15 years ago.  That was when we graduated from Kansas State University.  We live near Hillsboro, Kansas.

We like to grow wheat, milo, oats, alfalfa and grass on our farm.  We sell our wheat to companies that send it on to get made into bread.  The other crops that we raise on the farm then become feed for our cattle.  Did you know cattle are vegetarians?

Central Kansas is known mostly for growing wheat.  Just to the east of us is an area called the Flint Hills.  The flint hills have an abundance of grass and every summer the pastures there are filled with cattle that will grow on its rich grasses.  Our cows and their babies live there during the summer.

Our weather is moderate.  In the winter it can be 0 degrees and in the summer it can be over 100 degrees.  Most of the time it is reasonably nice outdoors unless the wind is blowing hard.  The wind does blow a lot here.

This morning Flat Aggie and I checked on a calf that we had yesterday.  They are in a stall because we had to help her have her baby.  There the baby can be on clean straw and the new mommy can learn how to take care of her first baby.

We keep track of the dad and the mom of each baby so that we know who they are.  Each cow has her own name.  In our case, they are numbers.  This cow is 225.  We will put a tag in her calf’s ear that has the same number.  This way, if the calf gets lost or sick, we know whom its mother is and we can get them back together.

Here is the calf with his tag.  It doesn’t hurt them at all.  It is just like getting your ears pierced.

Next, we fed my kids show steers.  Charlie and Ashley left early for school this morning so I feed their steers for them in the morning.  The black one is “Fluffy” and the white one is “Dallas”.  “Houston” is shy and didn’t want to meet Flat Aggie.

This is what they eat: corn, oats, and vitamins and minerals.  Once they have eaten their “cereal” they will get a drink of water and then chow down on some hay.  Then at night we will feed them again, just like us eating breakfast and supper.  This winter, one of these steers will be meat in our freezer so that we can have good food to eat for another year.  That is why we raise cattle.  Cattle are a great source of red meat, which gives us lots of good protein so that we can grow and be healthy.

Here we are on the 4 wheeler.  Sometimes we ride horses and sometimes we ride the 4 wheeler to check on the pairs.  When a cow has a baby, her and her baby are called a pair.  We check on them everyday to see that they are growing and getting plenty of milk from their mother.  Sometimes when the weather is bad, they will get a cold just like you or I.  Then we help the feel better by giving them some medicine.

In a few months, we will give them a vaccination shot to help protect them from diseases that will make them very sick.  We also give them a brand so that everyone knows whom the baby calf belongs to.  Our brand looks like a “puffy capital T” .  Its official name is a Box T.

When our calves grow up and don’t need their mothers milk anymore, we will bring them home and start feeding them grain and hay, just like the show steers you saw earlier.

Flat Aggie and I had a fun day hanging out together and doing the chores around the farm.  Just remember one thing.  We farmers and ranchers take the best care of our animals and our crops.  We eat the food we grow also.

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