Calving season is such a special time of year, and we want to be able to share a bit of an inside look into each day with you. Here is a brief look at the first two weeks of our calving and lambing. Be sure to watch our daily stories for more insight into our days on the ranch.
Day 1 – Calving Season is Here
It’s here! With much anticipation, the first calf of 2023 has finally arrived. I can not count the number of times that the boys have asked when the first calf would be here. While we were sitting down for supper this on March 4th, my dad called to let the boys know that a cow was calving. The boys quickly ate their supper and then headed outside to pull the calf to the barn. This pretty little boy has already received lots of cuddles and I am sure he will receive lots more tomorrow morning when we clean the barn and tag him.
Day 2 to 9 – Lambing Has Started
Wow! Where did the last week go? We had been busy with the start of calving and now lambing!! The first lambs have arrived. This set of twins is doing well. Peanut had two lambs, Peanut Butter and Nutella. I am sure you can guess who helped named these ones. They loved laying under the heat lamp. We use a heat lamb to help keep the newborn lambs warm. Once they are dried off and nursing well, we will turn the heat lamb off.
We then turn the lambs outside into a larger pen with their mothers once they 2 days old.
Day 10 – Family Fun
Day 10 was a fun filled day! The day started with helping a new calf and doing the morning chores. The boys then went bowling with their school and we did a few beef deliveries. When we came home, we worked on some school and checked the cows and sheep. By the end of the day, there were 4 new calves.
The boys had so much fun making a new lamb gate and it will be exciting to watch the new lambs sneak through into their own little space in the sheep shelter.
Day 11 – In Suspense
We had another 2 calves on Day 11. One of which is a bull calf which we are excited about. The boys and I had a very productive school day in between the morning and evening chores. The anticipation is high for more lambs! However, the ewes have decided to leave us in suspense. Still no more lambs even if the boys are checking them every 2 hours during the day.
Day 12 – A Busy Morning
The boys are eagerly and regularly checking the ewes and cows from 6am to their bedtime. Watching the excitement in their eyes has to be the best part of calving and lambing season. As soon as their alarm goes at 5:47am, their feet hit the ground and they are dressed and out the door by 6am. On Day 12, we had 6 calves for them to bring into the barn between 6am and 9am. Needless to say, there was lots of excitement! The rest of the day was quiet, so we had a chance to catch up on chores.
Every day we prepare the tags for the new calves. We use Ritchey tags that are pre-engraved with the calf number. We then engrave the cow number above the calf number. We love these tags as they are permanently engraved, so they never fade.
Day 13 – The Triplet Day
Yesterday we had two sets of triplet lambs born. Both ewes had them on their own. One little lamb has an entirely black tail, it is so cute. We then had 2 calves born later in the evening. One of the calves born on Day 12 has been a bit slow to get going, so we have been milking his mom to feed him. She is a very quiet cow, so it makes the milking easy, but we are definitely ready for him to start nursing on his own. He is a big boy, probably 120 lbs or so. Most of the calves this year have been weighing between 75-90 lbs.
Day 14 – A Slow Day
No calves or lambs. Everyone decided to take a break so it was a good day to catch up on paperwork. We processed the 2 sets of triplet lambs today. The ewes delivered over 32 lbs of lamb each! The big calf took a short nurse from his mom yesterday, hopefully we have him nursing on his mom by today. We moved the first two first calf heifers out into a larger pasture with their calves today so we got their calf shelter ready with fresh straw.