February is about over and this week we’re finally going to hit halfway through our calving. The weather has been so good to us this past month that I think I can handle going a little bit longer. Some days I wake up to 1 baby and other days I get 10. No matter the number, I’m happy regardless if they’re up and eating. Watching the birth of a calf is something that will never get old for me. The joy a momma has seeing her baby for the first time is what I think gets people addicted…so addicted they have to buy more cows 🙂
Check out this video of a birth of one of our baby calves! Much like when a human has a baby, when a cow has a calf she could be in labor for hours before she starts pushing. During the day & night we check the pens to make sure no one is having any sort of complications. The cow in this video has had multiple babies so she knows the drill. It is very important for the cow to get up close to immediately after giving birth and begin cleaning off her new baby. This helps get the calf to begin the process of standing up. It is even more important for the calf to nurse within the first 12 hours of being born. This is crucial to the survival of the baby. The milk that is produced within those first hours contains colostrum which contains antibodies to protect the newborn against disease.
After the the calf has nursed and the momma has bonded with her baby, we give the calf it’s ear tag and some preventative antibiotics. In the video you will see us tagging the baby’s ear with a big yellow ear tag. It’s very similar to the same process to piercing a humans ear. The ear tag is how we will identify that calf for the rest of it’s life. Once we tag their ear we give them their 2 shots. Just like newborn babies, baby calves need medicine to protect them against diseases that could harm them at a young age. Everything is recorded for our records and then mom and baby get to head out to the nursery pen for a few days where we can keep close watch on them both.