Stories of life on our farm in Northwest Georgia where every day is an adventure in this beautiful spot that God has entrusted to our stewardship.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Getting Ahead

(I've actually been getting behind in my blog due to our travels and summer activities.  I actually took these pictures two weeks ago.)

It's time to breed Sara again, and we found out that Bickett Genetics will come to Sara instead of her having to go to them.  That will traumatize Siobhan less and enable us to save board fees for Sara.  Since we know that she is coming into season regularly, we don't need to have her there for ultrasounds.  What we do need to have is a way to restrain her for the necessary procedures.  What we need is a head gate.

We researched head gates a bit and found that for cows with horns, the manual kind seems to work better.  Being complete novices, we'll take every advantage we can get!

Luckily, our property came with a sturdy cattle chute ready made for a head gate (which had been removed before we bought it) behind the run-in shed in the Lower Pasture.
Of course, even with a head start (pun intended), nothing is ever as easy as you think it's going to be.  The chute was built for a narrower head gate than the one we bought from Tractor Supply.  So Herb had to bolt a 4x4 post to the existing right-hand post.

When we lifted the head gate (about 200 lbs) into position, we discovered that a chunk of concrete used to set the posts was tipping the head gate off kilter.  So Herb broke out the pick axe and we leveled the ground.
This photo shows the new post in the background as Herb uses his Father's Day gift, a cordless drill to make holes for the bolts to secure the head gate to the chute.

This is just a fun shot of the sawdust flying.  What on earth did people do when they had to turn a drill by hand?

When it was finally time to bolt the head gate to the chute, I got to do my thing:  throw my weight around.  Actually, I was just holding the head gate in place.
Here it is, our completed head gate, being inspected by Tai.  This was definitely a lot more work than it looks like in this post!  It involved several trips in the truck back and forth to the barn, not to mention Herb's three or four trips to Ace Hardware for things we hadn't known we would need.  It was also baking hot in the direct sun.  But Part I of the job is done, and the head gate actually works.  And that's really what counts, isn't it?


  1. Wait, Tai's with us in VA, how did you get a pic of him down there???!!! Did you send the wrong Tai with us????

  2. Aha! You missed the italic print at the top where I said I took these photos two weeks ago. Don't worry, he didn't run back here to see us. He's still in Va.

  3. PS You need to update the cast of Zephyr Hill Farm to include Misty!!!

  4. That looks like one excellent head gate. What brand did you get? When you use it do post some pictures.

    We're going to have to upgrade our facilities too, so I've been researching squeeze chutes. I even found a place that can get US brand chutes that are way heavier duty than the French ones. But my pens need work, too.

    Our facilities might suck but at least it is raining here and everything is growing again.

    How are the pastures doing your way?

  5. @wobbly, we hope it's excellent. I'll definitely post some pictures when we use it and let you know how it works, especially with Sara's horns and small size.

    It's a Cattlemaster by Tarter. Here's a link to it on their website.

    There's always something that needs updating, isn't there? For us it the fence on the Lower Pasture which is in terrible shape and getting another area fenced in so it's usable.

    So glad to hear you're getting rain and grass is growing. That makes everything better, doesn't it? We're actually having rain this summer, too, compared to last summer when it didn't rain a drop for all of July, August, September and half of October. I won't call the pastures lush this year because it'll take more than what we've had for them to recover from last year, but it's certainly helping.


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