Winter Calving

27 Jan

We didn’t plan on having any calves born this winter.

But the bull had other ideas when he broke through a fence or two last spring, so wound up with 3 pregnant cows that were all due to have calves at a pretty inopportune time.  We don’t like calving in the winter.  It’s too cold, which is hard on the calves, and there’s no grass, which is hard on the cow who is dealing with an extra mouth to feed.

The first cow to give birth picked a lovely -25°F day. It didn’t go well. The cow was fine, but the calf didn’t make it.

So a week later, the second cow looked ready to pop, and we needed a win.

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This little lady was born about a week ago to a first-time mom who did the best she could. We found her shivering on the ground in the blowing wind and snow. Not good.

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After a little quality heat-lamp time and a bottle of colostrum she was looking much better.
Ideally, calves would be born in the spring, eliminating the need for supplemental heat to keep them alive during their first hours.

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Once the calf was feeling better she got a new ear piercing, then we kept her inside with mama for a day or so. Mama didn’t complain, she got some grain to help produce the milk that the calf needs.  It’ll be a tough couple of months for mama, who will inevitably lose some of her fat reserves making milk for the calf during the lean winter.  This spring, when the new grass sprouts up she’ll have a chance to gain back what she lost.

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