We wait nearly a year for this day to arrive. And it is even more special this year (not that it isn’t special any other time) because we lost our herd sire within the first couple of weeks of breeding due to injury last year. His full brother (and another son later in the season) took over breeding responsibilities for the rest of the season.
Yesterday, April 21, welcomed the arrival of the first calf of our season. #1000 is a little heifer (female). And thankfully this little heifer was not a runner like her brother from last year’s calf crop.
Last year we had a literal run for our money to get him tagged and weighed. A nice cross-country run… on foot… across 3 pastures, the barnyard, and several fences, 5 people and a 4-wheeler just to capture the little bugger. Did I mention he was only about 2 hours old? Yeah, so much for the myth that bull calves are lazy little slugs when they are born. Once returned to his dam, she was kind of like “oh, you brought us a little calf. He’s cute! I have one like that… how adorable…oh…hey, wait a minute… that is MY calf. I didn’t even know he was gone. Wow…. oh, hey, while you’re here, do you have anything to eat? I’m hungry… thanks for finding him, by the way.” As for her little bull calf, he walked out from around his mama, stood his ground and let out a hearty moo at us. Little potty mouth.
But fast forward to this year with the same mama – her heifer calf was still a pretty active little bugger but she got weighed, tagged and a squirt of probiotic/vitamin to give her system a little boost. She had already nursed on the front teats and was completely dried off. The umbilical was pretty dry, too.
Our presence within the vicinity of the herd drew a little attention for some of her clan and a couple of the nosy girls who then had to come check out the newest addition to the herd (most likely it was an excuse to see if we had any alfalfa cubes stashed in our pockets… we did, of course).
So who is going to calve next? We’ve been watching tailheads drop, separation from the herd, crooked tails, swishing tails, floppy and loose rear ends, udders bagging up, or unusual behavior such as pawing the ground (nesting behavior)…
… or lying down on the ground and staring off into the distance (without chewing cud), and a little weight shifting & stretching their necks out behind them or rolling around to position the calf.
Late evening and early morning checks will be added to the line up, along with the daytime checks throughout the day. The experienced cows shouldn’t require any help but the first time mama’s will be watched a little more closely, just in case assistance is needed.
Until next time…. calf #2 is on the way
4 thoughts on “its started…”
Congratulations on your new bull calf! Spring is here. Canât wait to hear about the next one!
I am sure you remember Steve, Johnâs older brother. He just became a Grandpa for the first time on Saturday, April 17. His daughter Jen had a 9#4oz baby boy 21.5â tall. I am now a great grandma! So cool!
Love your blogs. Thanks for sending!
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Congrats on your great grandson! Spring is definitely here. 🙂
Karen, I had no idea they could be that active so soon after birth. I humbly stand corrected.
Happy for a healthy birth!
We were surprised, too! 😉