As many of us head into calving season, there is no better time than now to get prepared. Long hours get the best of all of us, and reviewing the basics of how to treat a prolapse or how to properly use your calf puller are best done before a problem occurs.
Earlier this month, my husband and I began a new (and much anticipated!) chapter in our life when we moved out to his family farm to start creating a home in the original farmhouse. We previously lived in a townhome for the past two years and often commuted daily to the family farm to work cattle or help with fieldwork. I know townhome living works for a lot of America, but as two farm kids, we're feeling awfully blessed to finally have the cows right across the road and more than one lonely pot of flowers to tend to.
Since I probably will be talking about the daily ups and downs that come with rural living on here every now and again, let me take a few seconds to give some background on myself. If you''ve read my bio or chatted with me before, you probably know I grew up around cattle, but very much in a hobby-farm sense. My family's cowherd consists of old show heifers and I grew up showing steers and putting cattle in the cooler during the summer. My husband's family farms corn and soybeans in southern Minnesota, and they have a small purebred Angus cowherd and sell show and seedstock cattle.
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It is rather convenient timing that our move to the farm butted up with the start of calving season. Our first cow is due later this week and has a sexed embryo in her from our best donor cow, so as you can imagine, she is being carefully watched. She's an older recip cow, so best-case scenario is that she will pop a calf out without as much as a blink of an eye, but we never want to take chances. I know that many of your operations are much bigger in size and scope, but regardless if you're a commercial operation calving out 500+ or have a part-time operation with 15 cows, I think we all can agree that calving season is bound to bring its fair share of challenges.
As many of us head into calving season, there is no better time than now to get prepared. Besides having your calving supplies clean and easy to access, you might also want to take a few minutes to go over some frequent issues that arise during calving. Long hours get the best of all of us, and reviewing the basics of how to treat a prolapse or how to properly use your calf jack are best done before the problem happens. Here are six great resources that would be helpful to review before you're nodding off into your morning coffee after a week of late nights in the barn:
By the way, if you are online on Twitter or Facebook, make sure to use the #calfwatch14 hashtag. It's been catching on the past few years and it's a fun way to follow along with the trials and successes that come with the territory. Plus, it's an easy way to really show consumers about the long hours and hard work that goes into ranching. And you'll get extra points if you share a 2:00 am #felfie (farmer selfie!) with a newborn calf!
So share with us -- when do you start calving? Any good resources you review each year before the heat of calving begins? How many head will you calve out this year? We would love to see your pictures as well! Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or post them on our Facebook page!