February 01, 2021
Calving season has started on the ranch and baby calves are being born left and right! We are busy checking cows around the clock, feeding hay, and providing clean bedding.
This time of year is the busiest on the ranch and the days begin to run together. We check the pregnant cows frequently throughout the day and night to make sure they are not having problems calving. When the weather turns and is extremely cold or windy, we check them even more frequently.
We have windbreaks, calf huts/sheds, and a maternity section of our barn to provide bedding and shelter during bad weather. We also have heated pens for cow and calf to warm up together after labor during extremely cold days. Dan, my dad, is the primary care giver during calving season and works around the clock to provide for our herd with help from my mom, Marilee.
Pre-kids, I would spend more time at my parents to help with checking cows, cleaning pens, etc. but two toddlers makes that a little hard! Calving is the time of year when cows are their most unpredictable. Their maternal instincts are the highest they will ever be and they are not welcoming to adults let alone little red headed toddlers running around. Ranchers will commonly share stories of cows getting snorty, letting you know that you are too close to their calf. Even the calmest cow on the ranch can't be trusted during calving, you just never know! Carson and Tiffany are learning what they can and cannot do but it is hard to work with cows during this time and keep the kids safe.
A common question is why we calve during the cold winter months. Since our ranch raises registered Red Angus and Angus bulls and we have an annual production sale in early spring, we have to calve at this time. The bulls need to be a certain age when being sold to make sure they can breed cows when purchased by other ranchers. On average our bulls are 16 to 18 months when ranchers turn them out with their cows for breeding.
The majority of our bred heifers will have their calf in the next month and then the majority of our cows will be calving by that time. We have a busy next couple of months around here!
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