I'm trying to think of the last time I was in charge of feeding solely by myself. Don't laugh, I am under no illusion that I am actually in charge of anything, but I did follow the instructions and do the physical act of all the feeding all by myself.
I love feeding in December. I don't have any particular reason, other than it seems a little more relaxed. Field work is complete so we take a little more time in the barns because there's not so much on the to-do list for the day.
I like to feed in my pajamas when I know I am not going to spend all day in the barns. Hog barns smell just a tad if you didn't already know that so I just throw on my Columbia wash pants, grab my barn jacket, boots and head out. And clean up after, I'm smart like that.
I start with the cattle and then work my way through the hog barns. While I start out bundled up for the outdoor work, I shed coat and sweatshirt pretty fast working through the hog barns.
I have five observations from feeding last weekend:
1. I am terrible at slinging feed buckets. I think I must not be strong enough, I tend to end up just dumping them. I tried really hard to sling it the other day and ended up tossing the entire bucket into the pen of sows and hitting one of them on the head.
2. Feeding livestock is easier than feeding my kids. Pigs and cows aren't picky, they are excited to see me coming with feed and never turn their nose up or complain.
3. Sows in farrowing barn are getting three scoops of feed right now and my instructions said to give them a scoop of soybean meal if they looked too skinny. Are my perceptions of a skinny sow different as a woman than that of what the guys consider a skinny sow?
4. Picking up deads will never get easier for me. It is heartbreaking every single time.
5. I don't like to listen to pigs eat but could sit for hours listening to cattle eat.
And bonus - Kids like to run augers, they will therefore fill the feed cart for farrowing barns too full for me. I will then attempt to move it anyway and will spill it, only making more work for myself!