Moments like these make me so proud of my husband and our lifestyle. I grew up loving row crops, and have always been passionate about agriculture. Being more exposed to the livestock side of production has only increased my affection for agriculture. The hard work that farm families are doing to feed the world is something that often goes unnoticed and underappreciated. There are long days with late nights and early mornings… and having livestock means you often have to drop everything you are doing to ensure your herd is healthy, happy and safe. Thanks to all the farmers and ranchers out there for putting in long hours to feed a world that is far removed from the lifestyle we live. And to those of you who don’t know a lot about where your food comes from, just ask!
Calving started extra early when little “Gisele” our Superbowl Sunday Calf arrived a few weeks early, very unexpectedly. Fortunately, Jordan and I were driving by the field where our cows were on cover crops for the winter and saw this little one’s mama isolated from the group. Jordan hopped on the four-wheeler driving through the 6-degree temperatures in his church clothes to see what was happening. He hauled the cold calf back to the safety of a warm shop and we did our best to warm her up and get her a bottle while we coordinated moving her and her mama into the barn. It took a few weeks of bottle feeding her to ensure she had healthy weight gain. She did come away with a little frostbite damage, but Gisele has grown into a very healthy, happy calf. *we did not get to watch the first half of the Super Bowl
This is a video of Jordan doing a late-night bottle feeding to our calf Gisele
Lick tubs like this one from Purina, helps provide our mamas with all the minerals and nutrients they need in their last-trimester.
Summer (our dog) is very nosy during calving season. The cows are rotated around to provide them the best places to eat in each season. During the Summer they are at our house to graze on the pastures, during late fall and early winter they are out on the cover crops (turnip/radish mix) in a field and then they come back to our house so we can keep a close eye on them during calving. Summer is always curious when the cows return to our house after being gone for 4-5 months.
Laying down bedding for the cows to ensure they have a dry place to rest.
Finally more calves started to arrive.
Any new babies that are born get moved into the protection of a barn with their mama, it’s still pretty cold out. But that means extra work, hauling water and food to each pen to make sure everybody has what they need each day.
Every time a cow starts showing signs of labor it’s important to keep an eye on her and make sure she safely delivers the calf in a timely manner. It’s always a relief when a calf is born and is able to stand up and eat on it’s own.
The calf in the picture above, and below was born with contracted tendons in his front legs. It means his legs would “knuckle over” so he couldn’t stand up straight or walk quite right. So we fed him a bottle because he was unable to reach the udders and needed to get colostrum quickly. Fortunately “Forrest” was able to eventually walk all on his own, and the condition repaired itself after going in and gently stretching out his legs each day. *thank you internet for helping provide a network to research conditions such as this in a timely manner
Each calf gets a close check up and is given an ear tag to help identify who is who after it’s born.
Most calves are skittish around people, but this one loved getting special attention.
Happy helpers doing chores after an Easter celebration! If you want to be the most fun Aunt and Uncle, buy some livestock so your nieces and nephews can come do chores. 🙂
Overall this calving season was very challenging, but we were fortunate that the majority of cows were able to calve with no issues. Our herd is now happy to be grazing out in the pasture.