We’re far enough south that it is mostly OK to leave our calf on pasture through the winter. Early on I was told that cows don’t mind cold weather too much, but cold wind and rain can take a toll on them. We don’t have a suitable shed yet to put a cow in during bad weather, and so that was on my mind as I watched the first storm of the season approaching in the weather reports.
Then I had an idea.
Was the chicken tractor Chris built this summer tall and wide enough for a properly motivated calf to crawl into when the wind and rain came? And if so, would the calf actually use it? We decided to find out. One end of the tractor was screened with chicken wire, so I had Chris take that off. Then he dragged the tractor down to the pasture, put the water and feed buckets inside, and left.
It took awhile, but eventually we could see from the house that the calf had gone inside for food and water. And over the next few days we could see him occasionally lounging inside, chewing his cud. Yesterday the bad weather came, and the calf spent most of it inside, underneath the tarp-covered portion. (The end which isn’t visible is covered with a semicircle of plywood with a door built into it.)
We don’t know yet whether we’ll be using this chicken tractor for chickens next season (we’re thinking about switching to a portable fenced-in coop), but if we want to use it Chris will only need to reattach the chicken wire to the open end.