Calving and lambing is in full swing around here now. Here is a brief look at our third week of our calving and lambing season. Be sure to watch our daily stories on Instagram and our daily posts on Facebook for more insight into our days on the ranch during this spring season.
Day 15 – Fancy and Her New Calf
On Day 15, we had a quiet morning during chores and then 4 cows calved and 1 ewe had a set of twins in the afternoon.
Fancy, the boys show heifer from a few years ago, calved and had a thick, blocky bull calf. He should make a great bull as his mother comes from one of our top cow families, Harmony. The sun was shining all day, it was such a beautiful day to be outside.
Once the calves are a couple days old, the cows udder looks good and they are both healthy, we turn each pair out into a larger pasture. This helps to keep the calves healthy as they have lots of clean ground. The heifers who have calved for the first time are put into a different pen with their calves.
We have had a big calf that was a bit slow to get up and nursing on his mom, so we had been milking his mom to feed him. This morning, at the 2am check, he was nursing on his mom, by himself! It was such a relief. Slow calves like him take a lot of time and energy so now we don’t need to milk his mom anymore. We waited to weigh him until he was feeling better and he weighed 109 lbs, so definitely a big boy! Most of our calves this year have been between 75-90 lbs, which is a nice size. We have had a few Hereford X Simmental calves that are between 105-115, but the cows have had them all on their own, with no assistance.
Day 16 – A Peaceful Day
The early morning check was calm and so peaceful. It is such a nice feeling to walk through the cowherd and sheep when they are all bedded down and relaxing. After morning chores, we had the chance to work on some paperwork and organize beef deliveries. We only had one calf on day 16, which was born at 10pm.
We have calf shelters in our pastures so that the calves can always go and lay down in a dry and protected location. We put lots of straw in each shelter, regularly, to keep them clean. Some days these shelters will be almost full with calved and other days, when the sun is shining, only a few calves will use it.
Day 17 – A New Friend
On Day 17, we had 3 calves, one set of twin lambs and one set of triplets.
The twin lambs were quite big so we had to help the ewe. But everyone is doing well! And they are black!! The boys are so excited for 2 big black ewe lambs. We also picked up a cute little bottle lamb from our friends. It was a surprise to the boys and needless to say, there was a lot of excitement in the truck when they found out what we were picking up.
Day 18 – Spot the Lamb
On Day 18, we had one set of twin lambs and 5 calves.
The boys spent a lot of time running and playing with their new bottle lamb, Spot and we spent the day bringing in and processing new calves and lambs. We have four yearling ewes lambing this year, so today the first one lambed. And she is a special one as she is the first daughter from the my son’s black ewe. My oldest son purchased a black ewe two years ago from the money that he earned from selling rhubarb and at the boys summer roadside stand of beef jerky and pepperoni. Needless to say, it was an exciting day!
Day 19 – The Day Everything Started to Change
Day 19 ended up being even more exciting as my son’s ewe had twins and another yearling ewe had a single.
We also had 5 calves. We were starting to think that calving and lambing was going so well….a thought that a rancher should never have because things can quickly change. That evening, we enjoyed seeing the northern lights when we were out checking cows at 11pm….which turned into midnight and then 1:30am….We ended up having to assist a cow who was taking a bit longer than usual. Thankfully it was just a big calf and with a small amount of help, she successful had a beautiful bull calf.
Day 20 – C-Section Time
Between a trip to our vet clinic and 4 calves, 2 of which we had to assist, it was a busy day! The ewe wasn’t dilating enough so our vet did a c-section and successfully delivered 3 lambs. The boys had a great learning experience and loved bringing home 3 lambs on the truck floor. The two cows just needed a bit of help, as they weren’t progressing as they should. The cows, calves, ewe and lambs from Day 20 are all doing well!
Day 21 – Another Vet Call
Day 21 started with a call to our vet clinic again as we had a breech birth. This means that only the tail and bum of the calf are entering the birth canal. My dad tried to push the calf back in so that he could reach the two back feet, but the cow was straining too much to be successful. Thankfully our vet, Dr. Mitchell, can give the cow some medications to relax the cow’s uterus and to reduce the contractions. Dr. Mitchell then had a physically demanding job to correct the placement of the calf. Thankfully, a sweet heifer calf was born! Since the cow and the calf were not able to get up yet, we will be spending the next couple days looking after the two of them. Later in the day on Day 20, we also assisted a bred heifer who just needed a bit of help. A successful day even despite the calving difficulties.
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