Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Calving Heifers is CRAZY hard, WONDERFUL work!

Well, we're about a month into calving our group of heifers.  We are half way through, & I was starting to see the end of the tunnel.....Then the mud season started.  That changes things up & makes them much more interesting.  As I was slogging through the mud the other day, I started working on a blog post (in my head, I had to think of something positive!)

Calving heifers is hard work!!  Just so we're clear, a heifer is a female bovine that has never had a calf. 

Imagine how clueless you were as a first-time mom (or parent).
Then, imagine you can't anyone who has had a baby before.
And, you're in a "room" with 30-50 other first time moms.
Then, imagine you go into labor early.  (remeber, you have no teaching about labor, only instincts)
Add in a BUNCH of mud, and other nosy (first-time) moms "helping".
Then, you have to figure out how to get the little guy out, & then standing & nursing.

Wow, thats a lot of work!  And Confusion!  And then, if some crazy lady, is trying to get you to go somewhere different, LOOK OUT, MASS CONFUSION!

Thats calving heifers in a nutshell....confusion!

The good thing is, I was finally able to convince the heifer that the muddy thing on the sled, WAS her calf.  That she should follow it INTO the barn.  The calf was new, but had been licked clean (good mama).  Once in the barn, the heifer (862u) nursed her calf like a champ!  As soon as the rain stops tonight, she will get to go back outside (into mass confusion again) into the pairs pasture.

In this new pasture, she will find 15 other new mamas with their babies.  Everyone is black.  She can't read ear-tags to tell which calf is hers.  Somehow, she will keep track of her calf at every moment & know when he is in trouble.

Luckily for us, every animal has instincts.  If we listen to ours, we have as many instincts as cattle do, we just have to listen to them!

If I let the heifers take their time to calve (not be a nervous mama) they will have their calves outside perfectly fine!  I just get too nervous, and want to help.  I just need to let thier instincts take over & nature take its course.

So far, the spring is looking up!

I hope today is a sunny day for you!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

This winter has been LONG & AWFUL

Well, unless you've been on a sabbatical in another country, you know that this winter in Iowa (well, most of the country) has been Long, SNOWY, dreary, nasty, and whatever other negative words you can think of.

We have lost several cows this winter.  I think more than we have lost in the last 3 years combined.  We are not very far ahead in the calf percentages.

So sorry that I haven't been blogging much.

I love ranching & raising cattle so much that its hard to write negative things. : (

We are also working to re-finance the whole ranch.  This takes tons of time & can also be very frustrating!

I'm sure you'll excuse my lack of enthusiasm for blogging.

 A little photo of my little Squeak, "Cowboyin"  This wild buckin horse has been happily buckin him off for about two months.  When his buckin horse gets too rough (meaning he throws himself off too hard & hits his head on the floor or couch) he gets put away in his stall.  I keep handing him a rope (wishing & hoping he'll be a roper) but no such luck.  I think we're destined for a Rough Stock little boy.  I sure can't wait until the weather is nicer & he can start riding 7-Up!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What have we been up to???

Blogger doesn't like me.  Won't let me upload pictures.  It let me upload this one picture.
But, I do love this picture!!!  A.Cowgirl talking with her heifer (Freedom) before she took her to the ShowRing at the Iowa Beef Expo.   These two have an amazing bond!  A.Cowgirl loves all animals!  Her dog Lola broke her foot Sunday afternoon.  A.Cowgirl sat with her in the porch & read a book to her all afternoon.   We splinted her leg & A.Cowgirl was so careful with her.  When we took her to the vet yesterday, A.Cowgirl was right in there holding her dog & making sure she knew exactly what they were doing to her dog.  She took her outside 4 times yesterday & made sure she protected the cast with a plastic bag each time.  It is SO WONDERFUL to see her love her animals!!!