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Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT

Developing Draft Colts

Developing Draft Colts

Developing Draft Colts

by W.A. Cochel and B.O. Severson
from the Pennsylvania State College Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin No. 122, July 1913

The general practice of Pennsylvania farmers in buying rather than producing horses for farm work is justified by the statement that horses can be bought cheaper than they can be produced under eastern conditions. During October, 1910, The Pennsylvania State College and Experiment Station purchased a group of ten grade Belgian and Percheron colts and one pure bred Percheron for use in live stock judging classes. An accurate record of the initial cost, feeds consumed and changes in form has been kept in order that some definite information as to the cost of developing draft colts from weaning to maturity might be available for farmers, investigators and students. The handling of animals in this way is probably more expensive than handling them for market purposes but it has an advantage in that the results are not apt to prove misleading when applied to farm conditions.

Developing Draft Colts

Developing Draft Colts

Care and Management

First Winter, November 12, 1910 – April 19, 1911.

During the first winter the colts were divided into two groups, one of four, the other of six individuals, and allowed to run loose in two large box stalls. They were turned out twice daily for water, and occasionally led from the College Barn to the Agricultural Building, a distance of one-quarter of a mile, for use in the class room. Otherwise they had no exercise, as suitable enclosures were not available. Each group was fed a ration of five pounds per head daily in two equal feeds from a grain mixture of five parts shelled corn, three parts oats, two parts wheat bran, one part linseed meal, weighed and mixed in bulk. This amount of grain was fed until the end of the third month, when it was increased to seven and one-half pounds per head daily. No further increase was made throughout the winter. During the first half of the winter the group of four colts received a roughage ration of corn silage in the morning and hay in the evening. The average amount consumed per head during this period was 8.2 pounds of silage and 7.4 pounds of hay. The other group received the same grain ration and 10.6 pounds of hay without silage. During the last three months of the winter period the grain was increased to 7.5 and the hay to 13.1 pounds per head daily in each group. With this method of feeding, all the colts came through the winter in excellent condition of flesh, having gained 244.27 pounds per head during the winter feeding period of 168 days.

Developing Draft Colts

Developing Draft Colts

Summer Feeding Period, April 19 – November 2, 1911.

The summer feeding period included 196 days, starting April 19 and ending November 2, 1911. All colts were placed in pasture lots on May 4; five days later the fillies were removed to a larger pasture and allowed to range during the day and were placed in the barn lot at night. The four stallions were kept in a small pasture of four acres and were allowed to stay only 4 to 6 hours daily in this lot. The amount of grass was limited, and was therefore supplemented with grain and hay for all the colts. The larger portion of the hay was consumed by the four stallions. The pasture was supplemented to some extent with a soiling crop of green, mixed hay. During the last two weeks of August the four stallion colts were kept in the pasture lots at night, and tied in the barn during the day, in order to protect them from heat and flies.

Seven pounds of grain mixture were fed to all colts up to May 9, at which time the fillies received oats. The stallions received the grain mixture up to May 26, when oats were substituted. The stallions consumed their full complement of feed, but the fillies, due to being on better pasture, consumed only three to five pounds of oats per head daily, until the latter part of August when they consumed eight pounds.

From July 13 to 18, the fillies received no grain and the stallions were fed corn, as oats were not available. On September 7 and until the close of the summer feeding period, corn and oats were fed in equal parts by weight, each colt consuming eight pounds per head daily.

The total cost of feeding during the summer period was $27.45 per colt. This amount is twice as much as necessary where good and sufficient pastures are available. The four stallion colts consumed practically no grass and their maintenance and growth were derived from the grain and hay provided for them. The six fillies had a heavier supplement of grain than colts would consume ordinarily when placed on good pasture. For the development of draft horses, it is desirable to have them receive the greatest possible growth and development when less than two years old. Therefore, draft colts on pasture should receive as much grain as they will consume. With better pasture their appetites for grain are very materially lessened; therefore, in raising draft horses, one factor of reducing the cost is a sufficient amount of luxuriant pasture.

Developing Draft Colts

Developing Draft Colts

Developing Draft Colts

Developing Draft Colts

Developing Draft Colts

Developing Draft Colts

Developing Draft Colts

Second Winter, November 2, 1911 – April 18, 1912.

As new corn was not available until December 1, the grain ration during November was largely oats, after which a grain mixture of six parts of shelled corn, two parts of oats, one part of wheat bran, one part of linseed meal, was used throughout the remainder of the test. During the first half of the winter, grain was fed at the rate of 8.4 pounds per head daily, after which it was increased to 10 pounds (where it remained stationary) until the close of the test. The hay fed during the same period amounted to 16.6 pounds and 17.5 pounds, respectively. The colts increased 219.25 pounds in weight during the second winter, and the weight at the close of the test, when approximately 23 months of age, was 1316.9 pounds per head. During the second winter, all colts were tied in single stalls. Because of ice and snow in the small exercise lots, it was thought that the risk assumed in turning them out would be greater than that of keeping them tied. They remained in good health and spirits throughout the entire winter and were broken to harness during the early spring months.

Table I is presented in order to show the amount of feed consumed during different periods. It will be noticed that an increase of 60 percent in grain and 45 percent in roughage was consumed the second winter over that consumed during the first winter, although there was a decrease of 10 percent in the increase in weight, as shown in Table III.

Developing Draft Colts

The cost of feeding each individual during the first winter was $26.59, during the second, $38.99, an increase of $12.40 per head. The average cost of feed per head for the first year after weaning was $33.97. These figures are based upon the average value of feeds for the period during which the test was in progress and are materially higher than the average of the past ten years. The method of feeding resulted in the use of slightly more than one and one-half times as much grain as roughage.

Developing Draft Colts

Table II shows the weight of each individual at the beginning and close of the test, also at the beginning and end of the summer periods. The average gain during the 532 days was 720.09 pounds per head. No effort was made to secure extreme weight, but the colts were kept in good growing condition. The smallest individual gain was 665.9 pounds by Colt No. 23; the largest 806.2 by Colt No. 30. The average daily gain gradually decreased as the age of the colts advanced and as they approached maturity. It is important in the development of draft horses that they progress steadily from birth to maturity without any period of semi-starvation, either during summer or winter, which indicates the necessity of varying the amount of grain as the available supply of roughage and pasture is either increased or decreased.

Developing Draft Colts

Spotlight On: Farming Systems & Approaches

How To Get Into Farming With No Money

How To Get Into Farming With No Money

by:
from issue:

Let’s assume the beginning ‘farmer’ has absolutely nothing. Nothing but a will to farm and a reasonably normal body. The very first thing you must do is search out a farmer, preferably a farmer who farms close to the way that you want to farm. You must watch him, ask questions, do as you are told and learn everything you can. Very shortly you will be on your own and you will find that the more you learn now, the better you will be when you have only yourself to rely on.

Sustainable Forestry

Sustainable Forestry

by:
from issue:

After 70 plus years of industrial logging, the world’s forests are as degraded and diminished as its farmlands, or by some estimates even more so. And this is a big problem for all of us, because the forests of the world do much more than supply lumber, Brazil nuts, and maple syrup. Farmlands produce food, a basic need to be sure, but forests are responsible for protecting and purifying the air, water and soil which are even more basic.

A Year of Contract Grazing

A Year of Contract Grazing

by:
from issue:

Contract grazing involves the use of livestock to control specific undesirable plants, primarily for ecological restoration and wildfire prevention purposes. The landowners we worked for saw grazing as an ecologically friendly alternative to mowing, mechanical brush removal, and herbicide application.

Horsedrawn No-Till Garlic

Horsedrawn No-Till Garlic

We were inspired to try no-tilling vegetables into cover crops after attending the Groffs’ field day in 1996. No-tilling warm season vegetables has proved problematic at our site due to the mulch of cover crop residues keeping the soil too cool and attracting slugs. We thought that no-tilling garlic into this cover crop of oats and Canadian field peas might be the ticket as garlic seems to appreciate being mulched.

Personal Food Production

Personal Food Production

by:
from issue:

We can argue about when, but someday within several decades, oil and the plentiful super-market food we take for granted will be in short supply and/or very expensive. We must all start immediately to grow as much of our own food as possible. This is the fun part and is the subject of a vast popular movement highlighted by innumerable books, magazines, and web sites. Square-foot gardening, raised beds, and permaculture are the new rage. We don’t need thirty-million acres of lawns. Flowers aren’t very filling either.

Chicken Guano: Top-Notch Fertilizer

Whoever thought I’d be singing the praises of chicken poop? I am, and I’m not the only one. Chickens are walking nitrogen-rich manure bins.

The Forcing of Plants

The Forcing of Plants

by:
from issue:

It is always advisable to place coldframes and hotbeds in a protected place, and particularly to protect them from cold north winds. Buildings afford excellent protection, but the sun is sometimes too hot on the south side of large and light-colored buildings. One of the best means of protection is to plant a hedge of evergreens. It is always desirable, also, to place all the coldframes and hotbeds close together, for the purpose of economizing time and labor.

Fjordworks A History of Wrecks Part 2

Fjordworks: A History of Wrecks Part 2

It is always fascinating and at times a little disconcerting to watch how seamlessly the macro-economics of trying to make a living as a farmer in such an out-of-balance society can morph us into shapes we never would have dreamed of when we were getting started. This year we will be putting in a refrigerated walk-in cooler which will allow us to put up more storage-share vegetables.

The Brabants Farm

The Brabants’ Farm

by:
from issue:

The Brabants’ Farm is a multi purpose farming operation whose main goal is to promote “horsefarming.” Our philosophy is to support the transformation of regional conventional agriculture and forestry into a sustainable, socially responsible, and less petroleum dependent based agriculture, by utilizing animal drawn technology (“horsefarming”), and by meeting key challenges in 21st century small scale agriculture and forestry in Colombia and throughout South America.

An Introduction To Farm Woodlands

The farm woodland is that portion of the farm which either never was cleared for tillage or pasture, or was later given back to woods growth. Thus it occupies land that never was considered suitable, or later proved unsuitable, for farm enterprises.

The Woodfired Bottom-heated Greenhouse Bench

Cultivating Questions: The Woodfired Bottom-heated Greenhouse Bench

It took several incarnations to come up with a satisfactory design for the bottom heated greenhouse bench. In the final version we used two 55 gallon drums welded end-to-end for the firebox and a salvaged piece of 12” stainless steel chimney for the horizontal flue. We learned the hard way that a large firebox and flue are necessary to dissipate the intense heat into the surrounding air chamber and to minimize heat stress on these components.

Cultivating Questions A Horsedrawn Guidance System

Cultivating Questions: A Horsedrawn Guidance System

Market gardening became so much more relaxing for us and the horses after developing a Horsedrawn Guidance System. Instead of constantly steering the horses while trying to lay out straight rows or cultivate the vegetables, we could put the team on autopilot and focus our whole attention on these precision tasks. The guidance system has been so effective that we have trusted visiting chefs to cultivate the lettuce we planned on harvesting for them a few weeks later.

Fjordworks A History of Wrecks Part 3

Fjordworks: A History of Wrecks Part 3

Working with horses can and should be safe and fun and profitable. The road to getting there need not be so fraught with danger and catastrophe as ours has been. I hope the telling of our story, in both its disasters and successes will not dissuade but rather inspire would-be teamsters to join the horse-powered ranks and avoid the pitfalls of the un-mentored greenhorn.

LittleField Notes Prodigal Sun & Food Ethics

LittleField Notes: Prodigal Sun & Food Ethics

by:
from issue:

To my great delight a sizable portion of the general eating public has over the past few years decided to begin to care a great deal about where their food comes from. This is good for small farmers. It bodes well for the future of the planet and leaves me hopeful. People seem to be taking Wendell Berry’s words to heart that “eating is an agricultural act;” that with every forkful we are participating in the act of farming.

Biodynamic Meeting at Ruby and Amber’s Organic Farm

Biodynamic Meeting at Ruby and Amber’s Organic Farm

by:
from issue:

One weekend I attended a Biodynamic meeting at Ruby and Amber’s Organic Farm in Dorena, Oregon, in the Row River Valley, just east of Cottage Grove. I always enjoy seeing other food growing operations, as this is such an infinitely broad subject, there is always much to learn from others’ experiences. At this farm, draft horses are used for much of the work.

Cultivating Questions A Diversity of Cropping Systems

Cultivating Questions: A Diversity of Cropping Systems

As a matter of convenience, we plant all of our field vegetables in widely spaced single rows so we can cultivate the crops with one setup on the riding cultivator. Row cropping makes sense for us because we are more limited by labor than land and we don’t use irrigation for the field vegetables. As for the economics of planting produce in work horse friendly single rows, revenue is comparable to many multiple row tractor systems.

Fjord Horses at Work in the Green Mountains of Vermont

Fjord Horses at Work in the Green Mountains of Vermont

We own a 40 jersey cow herd and sell most of their milk to Cobb Hill Cheese, who makes farmstead cheeses. We have a four-acre market garden, which we cultivate with our team of Fjord horses and which supplies produce to a CSA program, farm stand and whole sale markets. Other members of the community add to the diversity of our farm by raising hay, sheep, chickens, pigs, bees, and berries, and tending the forest and the maple sugar-bush.

Small Farmer's Journal

Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT