Spring has sprung: calving time on the ranch

Most of our snow has melted and things are looking more and more like spring around the ranch.

Even though we started with about 30 purchased bred heifers having their baby calves in February/March, we are now officially into “calving season” on the ranch. Since we Artificially Inseminate (AI) all of our heifers and cows, we’re able to better “time” them so not everything is calving at once and also so calving season doesn’t get too spread out.

Since we have three different herds on the ranch (meaning we manage each group of cattle differently), we AI them about 2 weeks apart. That way the big calving times will happen around 282 days from the AI time (about 9 months like a human). Of course, the AI will not always “stick” – which means the straw of semen does not impregnate the cow. So we use a clean-up bull to breed the cows who were not bred. In the fall, we “preg-check” – check to see if the cows are pregnant. If they are not, we usually sell them, or sometimes move them to a fall calving time.

So enough about the process, onto the cute calf pictures!

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We had a bottle calf only for a few hours. Eddie was a twin and his mother did not have enough milk for both of them. So we pulled off Eddie, the smaller of the two bull calves, and gave him a bottle of milk replacer. Chisum was all about this and Nana helped name him Eddie since it was Earth Day (after Eddie Albert, founder of Earth Day).

 

The following day, we were able to graft Eddie to a new mother – meaning we paired up Eddie with his new mom who was not his birth mom (her calf unfortunately died). They both took very well to each other (which doesn’t always happen), so we were glad for a happy outcome.13007382_1030944596975500_5554882052940749541_n
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