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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 PST

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: Livestock

Praise for Small Oxen

Praise for Small Oxen

by:
from issue:

Every day in the winter, and a fair number of days in the summer, I choose to work with a team of Dexter oxen, just about the smallest breed of cattle in North America. Harv and Mr. Whistling Sweets are three years old, were named on a half-forgotten whim by my young children, and stand 38” tall at the shoulder. Sometimes, perched on top of a load of hay, moving feed for my herd of thirty cows, I look and feel comical — a drover of Dachshunds.

Farmrun On the Anatomy of Thrift

On the Anatomy of Thrift: Side Butchery

On the Anatomy of Thrift is an instructional series Farmrun created with Farmstead Meatsmith. Their principal intention is instruction in the matters of traditional pork processing. In a broader and more honest context, OAT is a deeply philosophical manifesto on the subject of eating animals.

Livestock and Predators No Easy Answers

Livestock and Predators: No Easy Answers

by:
from issue:

Since we’ve raised sheep commercially, we’ve been committed to trying to live with the predators in our environment. Over the years, we’ve lost just a handful of sheep — several to coyotes, at least one each to mountain lions and rattlesnakes, and four in one night to a neighbor’s dog. Mostly, though, our commitment to nonlethal predator protection tools has worked. A combination of electric fencing, livestock guardian dogs, sheep selection and grazing management has allowed us to co-exist with the predators in our environment.

Methods of Feeding Turkeys

Methods of Feeding Turkeys

In a survey made before starting this experimental work, it was found that there was considerable confusion in the minds of many poultrymen as to the relative efficiency between the mash and pellet methods of feeding. A review of the literature on turkey nutrition and methods of feeding failed to disclose any studies which would be of assistance in answering this question. As a result, an experimental program was outlined to investigate several methods of feeding growing turkeys.

Icelandic Sheep

Icelandic Sheep

by:
from issue:

I came to sheep farming from a background in the arts – with a passion for spinning and weaving. When we were able to leave our house in town to buy our small farm, a former dairy operation, I had no idea that the desire to have a couple of fiber animals would turn into full time shepherding. I had discovered Icelandic sheep, and was completely enamored of their beauty, their hardiness and their intelligence.

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.

The Mule Part 1

The Mule – Part 1

by:
from issue:

There is no more useful or willing animal than the Mule. And perhaps there is no other animal so much abused, or so little cared for. Popular opinion of his nature has not been favorable; and he has had to plod and work through life against the prejudices of the ignorant. Still, he has been the great friend of man, in war and in peace serving him well and faithfully. If he could tell man what he most needed it would be kind treatment.

Horseshoeing Part 4A

Horseshoeing Part 4A

According to the size of the horse and his hoofs the nails should be driven from five-eighths to an inch and five-eighths high, and as even as possible. As soon as a nail is driven its point should be immediately bent down towards the shoe in order to prevent injuries. The heads of all the nails should then be gone over with a hammer and driven down solidly into the nail-holes, the hoof being meanwhile supported in the left hand.

Fjordworks: Horse Powered Potatoes

Fjordworks: Horse Powered Potatoes

This is the account of how one farm put more horse power into the planting, cultivation, and harvesting of its potato crop. Ever since we began farming on our own in 1994 one of our principle aims has been the conversion of our farm operation to live horse power wherever feasible. This has meant replacing mechanized tools such as tractors and rototillers and figuring out how to reduce human labor as we expanded upon the labor capacity of our work horses.

Lineback Cattle

Lineback Cattle

by:
from issue:

Cattle with lineback color patterns have occurred throughout the world in many breeds. In some cases this is a matter of random selection. In others, the markings are a distinct characteristic of the breed; while in some it is one of a number of patterns common to a local type. Considering that livestock of all classes have been imported to the United States, it is not surprising that we have our own Lineback breed.

"Work Horse Handbook, 2nd Edition" by Lynn Miller

Draft Collars and How To Size Them

It is difficult to accurately measure a horse’s neck without fitting. In other words, there are so many variables involved in the shape and size of a horse’s neck that the only accurate and easy way to size the neck is to use several collars and put them on one at a time until fitting is found.

Work Horse Handbook

Work Horse Handbook

Horses are honest creatures. And, what I mean by honest is that a horse is almost always true to his motivations, his needs, his perceptions: if he wants to eat, if he needs water, if he perceives danger. He is incapable of temporarily setting aside or subverting his motivations to get to some distant goal. This is often mistaken as evidence for a lack of intelligence, a conclusion which says more of human nature than equine smarts. What it means for the horse is that he is almost never lazy, sneaky or deceptive. It is simply not in his nature.

Mini Horse Haying

Mini Horse Haying

by:
from issue:

The first mini I bought was a three year old gelding named Casper. He taught me a lot about what a 38 inch mini could do just by driving me around the neighborhood. He didn’t cover the miles fast, but he did get me there! It wasn’t long before several more 38 inch tall minis found their way home. I presently have four minis that are relatively quiet, responsive to the bit, and can work without a lot of drama.

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.

Cultivating Questions The Cost of Working Horses

Cultivating Questions: The Cost of Working Horses

Thanks to the many resources available in the new millennium, it is relatively easy for new and transitioning farmers to learn the business of small-scale organic vegetable production. Economic models of horse-powered market gardens, however, are still few and far between. To fill that information hole, I asked three experienced farmers to join me in tracking work horse hours, expenses and labor over a two-year period and to share the results in the Small Farmer’s Journal.

A Gathering of Comtois in France

A Gathering of Comtois in France

by:
from issue:

I was soon planning for a stop in the town of Pontelier, the main hub in one corner of the country I had never been to and was bent on exploring: the Franche-Compte. As luck would have it, this region has its very own breed of draft horse, the Comtois. It was to an “exhibition” of this horse that I was heading, although thanks to my lousy French, I was not sure exactly what kind of “exhibition” I was heading to.

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.”

Collar Hames and Harness Fitting

Collars, Hames and Harness Fitting

Farmers who are good horsemen know everything that is presented here: yet even they will welcome this leaflet because it will refresh their memories and make easier their task when they have to show hired men or boys how to adjust equipment properly. Good horsemen know from long experience that sore necks or sore shoulders on work stock are due to ignorance or carelessness of men in charge, and are inexcusable.

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