Konttiaho Ranch has about 100 cattle animals. Cows, heifers and bulls, one third of each. The animals roam freely in their pastures, some of which are forest pastures. A forest pasture gives shelter for animals and is pleasant for the cattle. Shelters for weather and heated water fountains make staying outside possible all year round.
Winter pastures are situated in the vicinity of the ranch and in the grazing periods the pastures are changed when needed. The Highland cattle are fed mostly with roughage. In wintertimes mostly silage is used alongside with dry hay. Silage is put in large bales. We use around 1000 bales of silage each winter. The appropriate amount of mineral nutrients are received from mineral licks and other mineral products. The cows receive selenium and vitamin E before calving. After that their need for minerals increases as they need to produce milk for their calves.
We use our own breeding bulls for mating the cows. A breeding bull is the one most important animal in the farm. Konttiaho Ranch has two Highland cattle breeding bulls and one Galloway cattle breeding bull. Calving needs to start in the month of May for the weather to be warm enough for the newly born calves. The bulls join the herd again in late July.
The calving season is the busiest and the most important season of the year. A perky and healthy calf is a cause for endless joy. The animals usually need no help with the calving but we must follow them closely in case any help is needed. The Highland cow is an excellent mother. Most of them take care of the calves very well although there are exceptions to the rule. Once in a while a cow loves her freedom better than her responsibilities. It is very important that after calving the cow imprints closely to its calf before the overly eager farmers intrude with their earmarking and health checks. Our calves are named each year with names starting with a particular alphabet, in 2019 all names begin with the letter R.