Calving Season has arrived on our ranch. Some years, it starts fast and other years it starts slowly. This year, the calves slowly arrived for the first 7 days and then we got into the full swing!
A couple weeks before calving, we bring the cowherd in to get them organized for calving. We give each cow a vaccine to help prevent calf scours. We want to ensure that the new calves stay as healthy as possible. By keeping our pens cleans, frequently moving the new pairs to clean ground, feeding high quality hay and monitoring daily, we can greatly reduce calf sickness during calving season.
The boys love helping out! They are great at keeping the cows moving up to the cattle squeeze, they stay on task so well while learning their numbers to 100 by reading the tags to us.
This was the first calf on the ground, 19-1. The weather has been quite cold so we brought this little guy into the barn as soon as he was born so that he would stay warm. Fingers crossed that the weather will warm up a bit soon!
We sometimes use a calf sleigh to bring calves into the barn. Sometimes it is used for kids too!
First Set of Twins
This set of twins received lots of love from the boys as they were warmed up in our supply room! We check the cows every 3 to 4 hours, or sometimes more often, when it is cold. These two were found shortly after 2am and their mom had done a great job drying them off and keeping them warm until we arrived.
Sometimes we have to feed a newborn calf a bottle of colostrum if they are not able to get up and nurse on their own within the first 2 hours. Our youngest generation is always eager to help with this.
Similar to humans, the colostrum contains proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and proteins (antibodies).
If the calf is a bit weak, cold, had a hard birth or stressed for some reason, the colostrum gives it an early source of immunity and energy. Quite often, all it takes is one feeding and the calf is up and nursing on its own mom in no time!
A Busy Season Ahead
The next week will begin to get very busy on the ranch. Between checking cows, processing calves, cleaning pens and feeding, our days will be spent outside, snow or shine!