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!!


  1. awe!!! u just want to make sure everyone is comfy! :)

  2. I really believe that the less we involve ourselves in animal births, the better the outcomes. Of course things happen. The mention of mud season brings a memory from a couple years ago involving twins, a broken leg, and a bruised udder.

  3. Ugh mid can be such a pain. I am happy with frozen ground or grass. The in-between stuff makes things hard. Good luck on the rest of your calving season.

  4. Joy often comes after sorrow, like morning after night...................................................

  5. Shanen,

    Hey it's Sara from Sara B Consulting blog
    I wanted to get your ok to mention you on my blog next Wed. I am a nutrition contributor to channel 8 news and will be doing a segment on local foods at 5. I then blog about it with additional info. I will list your blog and website if that is ok?
    Also, did you decide to sell smaller quanities of beef? I saw something on your facebook page. Right now my husband and I buy about 16 lbs of ground beef at a time from Grass Run Farm, but since we are moving to DSM, would like to find another rancher and I like what you and your family represent. Do you have a price sheet for the grassfed beef? Thanks so much!