SFJ

Facebook  YouTube

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: People

Field Weeds and Street Boys

Field Weeds and Street Boys

by:
from issue:

So, our farming system to feed hungry street boys is to have them farm “weeds”. As we have all experienced, weeds are perfectly adapted to their climate, are robust and need no fertilizer nor any of the insecticides to enhance a good crop. Because we are aiming for long term diversified permaculture (this is a Shea native tree area), we needed some very quick marketable crops while we wait for the trees to mature. These field weeds intentionally farmed have a ready market in the big city 5 km north.

New York Horsefarmer Ed Button and his Belgians

New York Horsefarmer: Ed Button and his Belgians

In New York State one does not explore the world of draft horses long before the name of Ed Button is invariably and most respectfully mentioned. Ed’s name can be heard in the conversations of nearly everyone concerned with heavy horses from the most experienced teamsters to the most novice horse hobbyists. His career with Belgians includes a vast catalog of activities: showing, pulling, training, farming, breeding, and driving, which Ed says, “I’ve been doing since I was old enough to hold the lines.”

Another Barn Falls In

Another Barn Falls In

by:
from issue:

The barn was built around a century ago. A pair of double doors on the front flapped when the wind blew, and a short service door was on the side. It wasn’t a big barn, about 30 feet wide by 40 feet long with a small hay mow above. It had a couple of windows for light, and of course a window in the peak. There was a hitching rail outside that gave it a certain welcoming charm. A charm that seemed to say, “tie up to the rail, and c’mon in.”

Students on the Lines

Students on the Lines & McD Grain Indicator Plate

from issue:

We conclude our online presentation of Volume 41 Issue 2 with beautiful photos from Walt Bernard’s Workhorse Workshops (www.workhorseworkshops.com) and some hard-to-find info on the McCormick-Deering Plain Fluted Feed “R” Grain Drill Grain Indicator Plate.

Growing Farmers and the Food Movement for 50 Years

Growing Farmers and the Food Movement for 50 Years

by:
from issue:

It all began 50 years ago when faculty and students appealed to UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Dean McHenry, proposing a garden project that would serve as a central gathering spot on the remote, forested campus. As legend has it, Alan Chadwick, a charismatic, somewhat cantankerous master gardener from England, chose a steep, rocky, sun-scorched slope covered with poison oak to prove a point: If students could create a garden there, they could create one anywhere. And create they did.

Meeting Place Organic Film

Meeting Place Organic Film

Local, organic, and sustainable are words we associate with food production today, but 40 years ago, when Fran and Tony McQuail started farming in Southwestern Ontario, they were barely spoken. Since 1973, the McQuails have been helping to build the organic farming community and support the next generation of organic farmers.

Loose Hay with Ryan Foxley

Loose Hay with Ryan Foxley A Farmrun Production by Andrew Plotsky

Elsa

Elsa

by:
from issue:

I headed out with a gut feeling not that something was wrong, but that in these conditions there soon enough would be if I did not try. I made my way more or less by instinct across the open field and through the frozen swamp. In amongst saplings, rocks, and old rusty metal and wire there is a large, red haired calf half steaming where mom is aggressively licking her and the other half is iced over where her hooves and legs appear frozen to the ground.

Cindys Curds & Whey

Cindy’s Curds & Whey

by:
from issue:

The Burgess dairy farm and cheese factory are sustainable operations, meaning that nearly every by-product is re-used or recycled. For example, the usually-discarded whey goes to feed their own pigs, producing an exceptionally tasty, lean pork. Whey is the liquid portion of milk that develops after the milk protein has coagulated, and contains water, milk sugar, albuminous proteins, and minerals.

Expanding the Use of the Heavy Draught Horse in Europe

Expanding the Use of the Heavy Draught Horse in Europe

“La Route du Poisson”, or “The Fish Run,” is a 24 hour long relay which starts from Boulogne on the coast at 9 am on Saturday and runs through the night to the outskirts of Paris with relays of heavy horse pairs until 9 am Sunday with associated events on the way. The relay “baton” is an approved cross country competition vehicle carrying a set amount of fresh fish.

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.

Typical Range Ride

Typical Range Ride

by:
from issue:

I head up the steep trail through the rocks and sagebrush behind our house. The smell of dewy sage fills my nostrils as my horse brushes the shrubs along the trail, and a horned lark flits up from her nest on the ground as we go by. A mother grouse bursts into the air and does her broken-wing act (her strategy to lead a predator away from her babies, who are scattering out through the grass).

Hand-Harvested Food Challenge

The Hand-Harvested Food Challenge

by:
from issue:

In the winter of 2011, Daniel mentioned a fourteen-year-old student of his who had spent a whole month eating only foods gathered from the wild. “Could we go for two days on the hand-harvested food we have here?’ he asked. “Let’s give it a try!” I responded with my usual enthusiasm. We assembled the ingredients on the table. Everything on that table had passed through our hands. We knew all the costs and calories associated with it. No hidden injustice, no questionable pesticides. We felt joy at living in such an edible world.

Rope Tricks

a short piece on rope tricks from the 20th anniversary Small Farmer’s Journal.

Fjordworks: A History of Wrecks Part 1

Fjordworks: A History of Wrecks Part 1

I am certainly not the most able of dairymen, nor the most skilled among vegetable growers, and by no means am I to be counted amongst the ranks of the master teamsters of draft horses. If there is anything remarkable about my story it is that someone could know so little about farming as I did when I started out and still manage to make a good life of it.

Twain Under the Farm Spell

Twain Under the Farm Spell

by:
from issue:

In his greatest works — Tom Sawyer, Life on the Mississippi and Huckleberry Finn — Twain offered a contrast and tension between town and countryside, between the web of deals and cons and bustle of activity that the modern world would call decidedly urban, and the hard-scrabble but quiet and ultimately nourishing living on farms. There were four farms that touched Sam Clemens, rural locales that sustained and helped mold him, that reached from his beginnings through the decades of his greatest creative efforts.

Mayfield Farm

Mayfield Farm, New South Wales, Australia

by:
from issue:

Mayfield Farm is a small family owned and operated mixed farm situated at 1150 m above sea level on the eastern edge of the Great Dividing Range in northern New South Wales, Australia. Siblings, Sandra and Ian Bannerman, purchased the 350 acre property in October, 2013, and have converted it from a conventionally operated farm to one that is run on organic principles. Additional workers on the farm include Janette, Ian’s wife, and Jessica, Ian’s daughter.

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