Thursday, March 28, 2013

Springtime and baby calves

This first day of spring came with a lovely snow storm last week.  My husband and his dad had to make a trip to Wolf Point (about a 120 miles round trip from our farm) to do some paperwork, meet with our accountant, and...look at a new rifle. Boys...
But they also stopped by the greenhouse in Wolf Point and picked up some tulips and hyacinths (my favorite flowers)!  It definitely helped brighten my day with the dreary snowstorm going on outside!  I potted them in this cool old pot that used to be the 'random bolt holder' in the shop. And of's turquoise. I also added some cool ceramic eggs to give my house a lil' Easter decor. 
Then on Saturday, the whole fam damily (including Annie the corgi) braved the bad roads as a result of the snow storm and made our way back to Wolf Point.  My mother-in-law and I had our Bountiful Baskets to pick up and Dylan decided he wanted to buy the rifle that he looked at earlier in the week.  Here's what the roads were like most of the way to and fro...not ideal...but not horrible. :)
And here's what the wheels of one our pickups looked like after a trip into Lambert last Monday.
Our cows just started calving this past week and it's always fun to capture moments of the new little calves and the momma cows. I'm very thankful to have my iPhone along with me during these times to capture these moments, because well...quite frankly things can get a lil' western in a hurry!  It's much easier to run from an overprotective momma cow with an iPhone than a big fancy camera! That and...well there is a lot of icky, gooey, and smelly stuff during calving!
These are just some of the images from around our farm this last week.  We still have quite a bit of snow, but it has gradually been getting a little bit warmer during the day and has now began melting off.
Annie drift busting.
Traffic jam on the farm at feeding time.
The photo below was taken about three weeks ago.  This momma and baby jumped the gun on 'calving season' and this baby arrived extra early!  She was healthy and alive, but a tiny calf!  This lil' calf needed some help nursing on her momma, so we had to do a lil' coaching!  But after a few days of help, this baby calf got the hang of it and no longer needed us!
My father-in-law, Tim, helping the new baby calf learn how to nurse.
During 'regular calving season', we have all of our momma cows in a smaller pasture in front of my in-laws' house so we can keep a watchful eye on everyone. We let the cows have their calves out in the pasture so they can roam around a find a 'quiet spot' to have their babies. As soon as we see the cow going to labor, we make sure to check on them often (most of the time with from afar with binoculars) to make sure they're not having any problems while calving. Sometimes with heifers (that is a female cow that had not had a calf yet) and young cows, the calves are sometimes too big and the cows need assistance in having their baby. But most of the time the cow doesn't need our help at all!

Dylan checking on a momma cow and new born calf to make sure everyone is healthy.
After the cows have had their calves in the pasture we go out to them to make sure that the baby is breathing and healthy.  We usually wait until the momma cow has cleaned off her baby and had a chance to get acquainted before we start moving the pair to the barn.  We move the new pairs to the barn so we can get them out of the weather (the wind is always blowing here) and away from the rest of the herd.  This gives the cow and calf time to recoup from everything that has been happening.
On our first day of calving (minus our early arrival) we had a busy morning!  We had 3 calves born within an hour or so! Our maternity pens in the barn were getting full with new mommas and babies!  
Three new mommas and their babies tucked away in the warm barn.
We've had heavy fog the last two mornings (Remember what I said comes 90 days after fog?) so it has made for some neat pictures!
Replacement heifer waiting for her feed.

Dylan and a momma cow walking in a newborn calf born at dawn.

This calf in the picture below was born on Tuesday.  He's a cute lil' bugger! This morning Dylan and I put an ear tag in his ear that matches his momma's number.  We match the numbers so we can make sure everyone has the right calf!  Another thing we use our ear tags for is to 'sex' the calves.  An ear tag in the left ear means it's a steer (male calf with testicles removed) and an ear tag in the right ear means it is a heifer calf.  This helps us especially in the fall when we are sorting calves into steers and heifers in preparation for shipping.

Whitney (that's me!) and baby Hereford.
Speaking of new calves, I've been watching a cow while I was writing this and she just had her calf!  I best be off to go check on her and the new baby!

Happy trails!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing the pictures and the stories!