Living on a diversified farm brings many seasons. Planting season, irrigating season, harvesting season, and so many more. My favorite time of the year on our farm begins in February each year. Ironically, the month of love, February, is not just Valentine’s, it’s not just our wedding anniversary, it’s the due date for our baby calves!! We spend a lot of our time in February plowing the snow from the cattle pens where the babies will be born, preparing the barns with heaters and hay for the calves to have a warm place to be welcomed into the world, and hoping that it stops snowing sometime soon.
Having a successful and healthy baby calf birth is dependent upon a variety of factors. Some factors are within our control and some are beyond our hands. The magic happens in the month of May when we put our mama cows out in the pastures with the bulls. Some farms use artificial insemination to impregnate the mamas but we prefer the natural way on Blauhorn farms. Both are great methods! We continue to care for the mamas and keep their health in optimal condition by feeding them cattle feed and vitamin mineral supplements called Loomix.
This leads us up to February, the month of love. When the mamas are nearing their due dates, we bring them all home from the corn stalks to the pastures right outside our home. Having them near allows us to keep a close watch for when the labor process begins. This is where factors beyond our control such as weather play an important role in the birthing process. On cold snowy nights, we must wake up every two hours to watch for signs of labor or new life. If a calf is born in cold weather, we take it and the mama to the heated barn or shed to warm up until it is walking around and safe to wander back outside. If a calf won’t drink the mother’s milk, we feed it from a bottle with milk until it figures out how to drink on its own. If a calf isn’t feeling the best, we pick it up and take it to the vet a few miles down the road where he gives the calf the best care. If the calf breaks its leg, we have a cast made for it and the calf wears it around for a few weeks until it’s healed.
Seeing this miracle right before my eyes each February makes me feel blessed to play a small part of this process. The amount of love and heart that our farmers put out on the farm is truly reflective in our healthy calves born every year.