**I prepared this a week ago and published- and realized today it didn’t go through! Ahhh…the power of technology. Although, it is perfect for today since it is April 18 and it is currently snowing outside, and we are in a current winter storm warning…Oh, South Dakota!
Is never, ever fun.
Just picture yourself 9 months pregnant ready to pop and having your baby in the backseat of your car in the middle of a blizzard with the wind howling outside and no heat on.
Not only is it not fun for Momma cows and their calves it doesn’t make things easy on us, the caregivers.
When rain turns to sleet, and sleet to snow, and snow to sleet we start getting a little worried. It is the perfect conditions to start losing calves.
Today we had four new calves, and two that were born yesterday already in the barn. Typically, we give them a few days in pens or in the barn alone before we turn them out with the cows that have already calved. And that is if there are no problems.
Today we did something that has been done maybe once or twice since I married my farmer. We started loading up cows that had just had babies and taking them to buildings where they have access to warm bedding and a roof over their heads so they can stay out of this terrible, terrible sleet we have coming down.
And we hope and say a few prayers that no more come tonight…especially in the middle of the night in the thick of what is to come. It is predicted we could have up to ten inches in the days to follow and that is a terrible weather front to be in when you are popping out anywhere from 2 to 6 calves a day.
Typically, with normal Spring conditions cows are safe to have their calves in the pasture. Just like any mother their natural instincts will hopefully kick in once they have a calf. They start to care for the calf at birth and the calf will hopefully suck soon after standing. Especially in the winds we typically have here in SD it’s really important for her to lick the calf dry as soon as possible.
But, when are conditions always ideal? When does a cow always know what to do as soon as she has a calf? Not to mention, what happens when you throw a twin in there?
There are lots of factors that are played in a calving season. We take it one cow/calf pair at a time and make sure that we give lots of attention to each one when they calf. We make sure Momma and Baby are prepared when they are turned out to pasture; and then we carefully watch them even after they are out to pasture to make sure they don’t get sick, aren’t having problems getting milk, don’t get stuck in the mud, and haven’t hurt themselves with all the running they do on pretty Spring days!
**Today, we are lucky to not have the sleet we got over a week ago. But, our conditions still are not ideal..