This about 2 months overdue, but I still wanted to share because it can give you a pretty good idea of what calving season can look like. And since our calving season is pretty much complete (minus a few stragglers) it seemed a good post to end the season.
The last few weeks the days have gotten longer, the weather warmer, and lots of baby calves.
A few weeks ago my husband also went on a business trip to Washington D.C. for a leadership conference and also to meet with our state’s representatives to discuss issues in the Ag industry.
I am pretty sure that the minute he sets foot on a plane our daughter knows it. Right before he left one of my cows was pretty much ready to pop. I checked her through the night every couple of hours and it seems that as soon as I would lay back down in bed our daughter would be awake and crying. Our normally good little sleeper always seems to know when her Daddy is gone.
I stayed close to the house while he was gone because I was bound and determined to be there for her- my cow. Not to mention this was her first calf and I didn’t want to chance being gone and her needing some help during the labor. Wouldn’t you know that as soon as he returns I head to town a few days later for some groceries and she goes and has her baby? Silly girl.
My second cow had her calf a few days later and both of them are wonderful mothers. Just the right amount of maternal protection and very attentive to their babies.
The farm started calving not too long after that. And things are going smoothly so far this year. Much better than last year. Unfortunately the weather is still so, so dry. But, it has made calving season that much smoother, so far anyway! Without the mud and the muck calves can be born on to dry ground and make things easier for them standing up for the first time and simply getting around. (This was the first part of calving season- then we got lots of snow, which in turn made things nice and slushy, which was not any fun. After the light snow we then went and got 12 inches of snow..which means around the clock checking and bringing every cow and calf into the barn to get warm after they have calved.)
I check cows early evening and every day we move them in for the night. The last few days have been perfect weather for bringing the cows in and perfect for me and our little girl to share some quality time together.
I think this is probably starting to become her favorite part of the day. Today, when it was time to check cows she waddled down the hallway and grabbed her coveralls and brought them to me. Once I had those she turned back and went and got me a shoe and her hat.
My little rider and I typically spend the next 30 minutes or so driving around through the cows. We check for any cows that are calving, any new calves, and the calves that are already in the pasture. We help lock the cows in one of the smaller pastures for the night and then make ear tags for the new calves.
She loves pretty much every single minute of it. After we checked cows earlier this week we spent about an hour helping Daddy and she had such a fun time. I love spending time with her on the farm and I love telling her about all the things we are doing and why we are doing it. I can already see her a few years from now begging Daddy to take her with him everyday. She sorta kinda already does, in her own little way!
At the end of calving season we put all the cows and calves through the chute and give them their shots for the year (just like vaccinating your cats and dogs). We also check their overall health, make any notes of things that have changed from last year, and then we give them new tags if they need it. I made a ton of tags this year. Our cows needed lots of replacement tags and then we bought a herd of new cows and they needed to have matching tags so it was a big year for ear tags.
My husband was a little worried how time consuming tagging would be, but it worked well. Our nephew cut tags out and then my husband and I gave them their new tags.
I engraved most of those things, I really like it and I am really impressed with the way they turned out. Producers out there, Cal Tag, is the place to order from! I loved how easy the engraving was, once I got the hang of it. And the size was comparable to what we used before. Plus, they were universal with our Allflex taggers. I think it would be nice in the future to order some of the pre-engraved tags, just to see how they look on our cows, especially from a distance.
But, most of you don’t care about the thrills of a new ear tag, but the thrill with finishing a rather large project for me was nice. I love completing things and allowing them to come full circle.
Anyway, that is Calving Season 2013. Now, we are already starting the cycle of Calving Season 2014. Our bulls are going to get tested soon (maybe more about that in a future post!) and then the cycle starts all over again.