Can you believe it’s already March?! Spring is in sight and I can’t wait to wash and hang up my coveralls for the year. This winter’s weather has been extremely odd and the warmth we’ve had has been good and bad for the calves.
Any day above freezing with sun is a wonderful day to have a calf. The only thing that isn’t so great is the mud that comes along with these warm days. The cows that are getting close to calving move a lot closer to the barn, so we can keep a better watch on them during the day. We work hard to make sure the lots are covered in cornstalk bedding for them to have their calves on. The joy the cows have when they see you bring a new bale of cornstalks into the pen is like the joy we find in sleeping in freshly washed sheets! If we didn’t put down bedding in the pens the cows could have their calves in the mud. This makes it extremely hard for the calf to stand up and nurse for the first time. This extra effort could prove fatal as the calves may use all their energy trying to stand and they not make it to nurse from the mother cow.
Not all days are 70 degrees. It’s especially not good when it is 70 one day and 25 the next day with 20 mph north winds. This little gal was born outside and was having trouble getting those first strides in. Jared and I brought her into our warm box and gave her a little jump start with the heater and some milk for extra energy.
Usually the cows have their calves at night after we run them into our calving barn. While they are in there, we check them with cameras we installed last year. This has been a lifesaver for how we check cows. This way we can keep watch on them during all hours of the evening. I don’t know how people calve without them!
After the calf is born, mom and baby head out to the nursery pen. Here they stay for about a week so we can make sure the calf is healthy enough to head out to pasture.
When the calf is ready to go out to pasture, we give them nasal medicine to protect them against respiratory diseases. I’d like to think this is the job that keeps me from going to the gym. This medicine goes directly into their nostrils. The calves are fast….very fast. It is quite the workout to get them to compromise for just a second!
It’s one thing to make sure the the calf is born alive, but keeping them alive is even more of a task. Every day we check the pairs out in the pasture to make sure they are all accounted for and healthy.
As we transition from calving to planting and breeding you realize the busy season is just around the corner!