This makes my first year to calve heifers since being on the ranch.
Anyone that ranches knows that calving can get harried. It’s true, but it is still fun and we should still be glad we get to do what we do, and we shouldn’t complain about the weather, as life just is what it is. And in case anyone hasn’t noticed, we’re in a pretty severe drought up here, so any sort of moisture we get, even if it’s in the form of April Snowstorms, should be appreciated.
We, as a rule, don’t turn our bulls out until the 4th of July- it’s become a tradition for our Fourth of July fun- rope and brand calves, and let loose the bulls. That means that theoretically you don’t have calves until the 15th of April- give or take that there’s always a few that are early. As was evidenced this week by the snow that began to pound us Monday night, and the Winter Storm watch that began Monday evening and ran through Wednesday night, our late breeding date is a great idea. Instead of being in the thick of calving we’re just starting.
We didn’t have a single cow calve in the middle of the storm and that was a good thing. Wednesday night, our first heifer calved. Followed by two more Thursday. And one that needed some assistance this morning, in the wee hours.
I got the message that we were gonna have to help that first heifer at about 10pm Wednesday night. Bud checks them before he goes to bed. I was at home, with only the four wheeler available for transportation. We play a lot of musical vehicles on this outfit and that’s just kind of what ended up here. So I donned my Carhartts, made sure I had the proper attire on underneath (which this time included a camisole, a long sleeved henley, with a denim button up shirt over that), and headed to the corrals. It was snowing, the wind was relatively calm and it was 20 some degrees outside. I couldn’t help but smile kind of dumbly on the way there, thinking “how lucky I am that I ‘get’ to help bring a life into the world? That I get to be there. That I get to do this? I mean, how cool is that?” Sure I could be asleep in my warm bed but this is way more fun that sleep! You can sleep later!
There was a pretty heifer calf born that night, and I was quite willing to take the night shift since Bud always gets up early to help get his son and wife off to work. He can sleep unless he’s needed and now that they’ve begun calving, I can walk through the heifers every couple hours, scratching on their heads and telling them how pretty they are. (Lorelei, I think cows are cool. But that’s not a surprise to you!) When I went back about 2:30 am that morning to check through the girls, and see the new calf, she’d been up and already had her first meal (or two or three). My partner, Jake came with me to do my middle of the night check.
Yesterday morning I took the camera with me to take some photos.
Here’s a longhorn (also a first calf heifer) that had her calf a few days ago:
This heifer is getting close!
This pretty girl delivered the most gorgeous Brangus heifer yesterday. She’s registered and nice to be around. Her calf is no different. When I walked through them yesterday morning, this girl got up, laid down, partially laid down, got up, laid down, and then the contractions started. Less than an hour later we had a cute baby! And I missed the birth because I was moving replacement heifers!
#227 is a cake fiend. She’s certain anytime she sees you you’ve got goodies for her!
Now, if you’ll excuse me I gotta go see if there’s girls that need some help!