Joys of Calving Heifers

We have been really lucky in the calving department. We really focus on low birth EPD bulls and try to reduce problems in the calving department. And for the most part we have been successful. We have only had to pull one calf in the last ten years and haven’t bottle fed any.

And then there was this fall calving season. Twins. Twice. In some ways twins is hitting the cattle jackpot but it can bring a host of potential problems. Mothers without enough milk, mothers that claim only one calf, calves that are too small and struggle and many more that I can’t even imagine right now. First set of twins calves and mother are doing well. Second set is still yet to determined. Yes, the calves are alive but not exactly thriving. One calf appears to be nursing from his mama just fine. The other calf is nursing from every cow that will let it. We don’t know if the mom isn’t allowing him to nurse or if the little ruggrat is nursing on his mama in addition to everyone else. Does anyone have a few hours to camp out in the rain with the herd to figure this all out? I don’t, so we will just have to keep an eye on his weight gain. We might end up with bottle calf out of this after all.

Tiny twin calf off by himself.

Tiny twin calf off by himself.

And then there was cow 11B. This is her first calf and she isn’t really getting with the swing of things. When we found him just after birth, he was on the wrong side of the fence from the cow. We put them back together but 11B wasn’t interested in the calf at all. Of course it was getting dark at this point so we left them be for the night hoping that nature would take over and do her thing….Well….That is yet to be determined.

YaYa left work the next morning to check on this cow/calf pair and quickly determined that they were going to need assistance in the bonding department.  Eddie and I were stuck at work so a phone call to a friend was in order.  He threw the calf in the back of the truck and they walked the cow to the corral.  After some time in the head chute, with YaYa holding up the cow’s manure covered tail, the calf finally had a chance to nurse.  Mama and baby are in the corral bonding. 

All was well…Until it wasn’t.

11B has crashed through the aging wooden corral and busted out leaving her calf behind.  We got a phone call at work so Eddie made a mad dash home.  Got the cow back in the field and away from the highway.  Tonight we must put mama/baby together again, hope for the best and repair the corral.  But, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if we have two bottle calves by Sunday. 

These are the joys of calving season.  They are just lucky that they are so damn cute!



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