It’s calving time! (Cue the Semisonic lyrics. Anyone else think of It’s Closing Time? Just me? Mkay.) Thankfully it’s been a mild winter so calving this year hasn’t been that hard on the cattle or the guys. Last year there was so much snow and we had to bring many pairs into the barn to calve or right after calving, which is not ideal. It’s so much better for the cattle to be outside, having their calves on their own.
I really love when I get to jump in the truck and get to help Josh tag calves. Now technically he doesn’t need my help; he just wants my company. Or maybe it’s he just likes me to open the gates. LOL! ;0) Either way, I don’t mind. I enjoy spending time with him and getting out of the house, so I’m always game.
When tagging, one of us grabs the calf, flanks it down, then gives it two shots of vitamins and a paste to help boost it’s immune system. We also put iodine on its belly button to prevent infection, then comes the jewelry—better known as— the ear tag. The tag has the calf’s identification code, which is a combination of numbers and letters, based on what year it is and what number in the herd it is. We also put the sire and dam code on it. As the calves are growing and changing over the next several months, we can evaluate how those genetics are performing. The final task is weighing the calf. All this information gets recorded in the “little black book.” That is a very valuable book. All the calving information gets put in that book then typed into the computer. Shear panic ensues if that book is ever misplaced for even a minute! The cattle we raise are seedstock or purebred cattle, so keeping accurate records is very important. We are raising the parent stock that commercial beef producers buy to raise cattle that becomes the beef we eat. (On this particular day, we just had to re-tag this calf as he had somehow lost his first tag; therefore, I had a front row seat to the action.)
I jumped out of the truck to walk through the calves while Josh finished driving through the pasture. When he drove back up to get me, he said I better watch out for that cow. I guess she tried to get him when they tagged her baby earlier in the week. It’s one thing to be protective—we want our cows to take care of their babies—but we don’t like to keep cows that are mean or snarly. We’ll have to watch her more as she might be on the cull sheet after she weans her calf. Glad she seemed to be okay with me that day!
This calf was cracking me up. Momma was just trying to get a nap and he was climbing all over her! Reminds me of my kids some days when I’m in the middle of a task or fixing dinner. LOL! What a snuggly little guy! So cute!
Now you may be wondering why there is an all black calf nursing on a red and white momma. That Hereford cow is a recipient cow this year, meaning she had an embryo put in her last year at breeding time. When we have superior cows and we want to bring more of their influence into our herd, we use embryo technology to do that.
Calving time is one of our favorite times of the year! It’s rewarding to see the next generation of cattle to hit the ground.