Despite the extra hours that calving season requires, those baby calves remind us why we are in the business.
Calving season is underway at our place. That means 2 a.m. checks, weighing and tagging calves, bedding the barn for calving cows, hauling water, and mucking out the stalls. In other words, it's general exhaustion, as we calve out the bred heifers and prepare for the cows to get their turn.
On Saturday, I got a break from the woes and joys of calving season. I flew out to Altoona, PA, to speak at the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer & Rancher Leadership Conference. From there, I will speak in New Bethlehem, PA, at the Redbank Valley FFA Alumni Fundraiser tonight, and I’m honored to be able to share my story and offer a state-of-the industry address to both groups.
I’m not going to lie, getting a full night’s sleep, without having to do the night check, is great, too.
Even though calving season can be a tiresome time of year, it’s also one of the best times to be a rancher. It’s the time of year when we get to see how our genetic pairings turned out, and our bred heifers make their way into a productive herd. I’m not embarrassed to admit it, but aside from anticipating the genetic potential of these new critters and how they might fit into our future breeding plans, I also really enjoy seeing those new baby calves run and play in the pasture.
The evening before I flew out to Pennsylvania, I did the 2 a.m. check and found a bred heifer of ours calving. She looked like she might need assistance, so I called my husband Tyler and my dad. Together, we pulled the calf and got the new bull calf up and nursing its mother before we went to bed. At 3 a.m., we all just stood there, watching the cow mother her baby, with smiles on our faces.
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Even though I’ve been doing this my whole life, and my dad has another 30 years on me, we both appreciated the moment for what it was -- a new beginning on the ranch. No matter how many years you’re in this business, it's something I think hardly any rancher takes for granted. Sure, things don’t always go as planned -- a calf might die, or a cow might not take her baby -- but when it does go right, calving season is the perfect time to renew your spirits and bolster your enthusiasm for the cattle business.
So, if you’re getting run down and in desperate need of a nap from the ups and downs of calving season, remind yourself why you're doing this and what you love about this business. Then, go look at your healthy baby calves and smile, because you know there's nothing in the world you'd rather be doing.
Are you calving yet? If so, how is it going so far? Share your best calving stories in the comments section below.
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