Monday, February 1, 2010

Calving Season

Calving season started today with two brand new baby calves. Calving season is one of my favorite times of the year. Sure it is stressful worrying about the weather, calves and cows but it is something I wish all of you could experience.

Each morning and evening we go out and drive among the cows looking for new calves. There is nothing prettier than coming up on a momma cow licking her newborn calf. I don't know how to explain it but it is kind of like finding Easter eggs and opening Christmas presents all at one time.

We count each cow in the herd and when we come up one or two short, a search of the pasture is started. Usually the missing cow is found somewhere in the pasture out of the wind. Often the calf is wobbly and hopefully eating its first meal. It is amazing just how fast a newborn calf gets up a starts moving, often within minutes.

We then gently catch the calf and give it two eartags that identify its mother. We also give them two shots to protect them against illness in their first 48 hours of life until they get natural immunity from their mother's milk.

We then let them go and often the mother and baby wonder off. Many times the cow is mowing softly to her calf while it wobbles along behind her. This does not even begin to describe the experience, it is one that I wish each of you could experience. Just part of the cycle of life on ranches all across the United States and part of the process that brings beef to your table.

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