Over the past few winters Farmer John has fed the cattle in the barn. We did a lot of work to get the barn ready for cattle since it hadn't been used in years. This included cleaning out a lot of junk, fixing the hay bunks, and building a door.
Feeding in the barn had advantages - it was close to the house, the hay didn't have to be moved very far, and we had good source of manure to compost. But, it had some major disadvantages - our cattle were destructive to parts of the barn, they figured out ways to get out, and sometimes the calves weren't able to eat.
This year Farmer John has been feeding them up in one of the pastures. It's more work for him, as you'll see, but better for the cattle.
First, he takes the four-wheeler down to the barn, and loads up six bales of hay.
Then, he drives it up the lane behind the house and to the top of hill. This lane can get pretty icy because the sun doesn't get to it. Eventually, depending on the weather, he may not be able to get up the hill.
Once he's in the pasture he finds a spot to spread the bales. Spreading the bales out makes it easier for the cattle to eat, and the calves can get to some of the hay. At this point the cattle know what's going on and they come running.
Whoever gets there first gets their choice of the hay. Although, there is quite a pecking order with our herd, and the young ones often get pushed out of the way.
I really miss hearing cattle eating in the barn, it's one of the most peaceful sounds I know. But, this way of feeding is really better for them. With those big shaggy coats, they don't seem to mind being out in the cold. I'm not sure I can say the same for Farmer John!