Saturday, March 7, 2015

Calving Season 2015 has begun

Calving season has begun at Rockeman Herefords.  As of this morning we have 10 calves - only 310 or so to go!

As I have stated on here before, I have the night shift.  For the 30 years that Mark & I have been married it has been my shift.  I go out around 3 AM to check the herd.  My three guys check the rest of the time (I do help sometimes).  We are not strict with this schedule - sometimes it is worse.   For example, we had a few nights this week when the overnight temperature was 15 below or colder AND windy.  Those nights we checked every hour or two.  Newborn calves could freeze their ears and lose them - or worse, freeze their hooves and never be able to walk - or even worse, freeze to death.  Another reason we need to check on the herd throughout the day and night is to make sure none of the females are having trouble with their delivery.  There are times when the rancher(s) need to assist with the delivery or have a veterinarian help.  As you can see, calving season is a full time job (24/7) for everyone here.

This morning I happened to also take the 7 AM check.  The sun was just coming up.   The moon just going down.  I just had to grab my camera.

Moon setting
It is a beautiful morning.  There is very little wind and the temp is about 24 above.  As I walk out to the barnyard, I have a fluffy cat join me and a couple of dogs checking out everything.  I heard coyotes howling to the south/southwest (not a good thing).  The first 'girls' I checked were just enjoying the sunshine while laying out on the straw covered hill.   (The straw works like a blanket on the ground to help keep the cattle warm.)

Some of the cattle enjoying the sunshine.
The cattle can also go into a barn.  As I was checking the cattle on the hillside, I could hear a soft moo-ing sound coming from the barn.   I was certain I would find a newborn calf in there - or a female calving.  Sure enough, I looked around the corner into the barn and I found this.

1304 had her baby
 The calf was up and walking around.  Mom was keeping a close watch.  (The 'stuff' at the cow's rear end is the afterbirth process taking place.)  

checking the girls in the pole barn too

There were other moms-to-be in the barn too.  No more babies, so back to the house I can go.

We will move the new pair up to another barn to be with other new moms and calves.   We like to get them in where we can watch them closer and they will be warmer.   We feel it is important to watch them closer when it is their first calf (that is who is calving now at our place).  We need to make sure the calf is being mothered (loved by mom) and gets that colostrum (first milk with the extra antibodies).

Later we will give each calf it's name - an ear tag with it's individual number.  I have written about the various jobs we do after a calf is born including record keeping, weighing and tagging.

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