Calving season is always my favorite time of year on the ranch…it is like opening presents on Christmas day, you finally get to see what you have!
Over thanksgiving the heifers (a heifer is a female that has never had a baby before) started calving. During calving season, which for my family is from now until the end of February, you never know what the weather will be like. There are some nice, sunny days and others that are blustery and snowy! It is the rancher’s job to make sure that all the cattle are tended to, have food to eat, fresh water and something to block the wind. When it snows, we put hay out for them to eat and roll hay on the ground so they have a dry, warm place to lay. This is especially crucial with newborn calves because they cannot withstand the cold as well as the cows.
While I was home, one of the heifers had difficulty calving. When this happens we have to manually pull the calf to make sure that the calf is born healthy and the cow is safe. If there are problems and no assistance is given, there is a possibility that neither the mother or calf will survive the laboring process. The cow and calf that we assisted both ended up being perfectly fine! As soon as the cow was turned loose, she immediately went to lick her calf. Shortly after, the calf was standing on its’ feet and nursing. Here are some pictures showing the entire process.
This is when my Dad started pulling the calf, you can see its hooves. It is important that the cow is caught in a tight space to be sure that she is kept safe as well as the rancher who is trying to assist her in the birthing process.
Here Dad is rubbing the calf to make sure it is breathing properly. You can see that it is already holding it’s head up! The cow and the calf will be kept in the barn with hay for bedding to make sure the calf stays dry and warm for the first few hours of it’s life.
Keep checking in on my blog to learn about more ways that ranchers take care of their cattle during the winter season.