Preparations for Calving

Calving season is upon us in Prattsville. Our first calf was born Saturday morning in the fresh snow. The first-calf heifer, now a cow, had no problems calving and got the young calf warmed up and dried off. So what work is there before calving season starts?

I have talked in many Tweets and posts about feeding hay, which helps cows to stay in a positive energy balance prior to and after calving, but what else happens? Well, when there is a cow that needs help calving, we will need a place to catch her. This is where corrals and catch-pens come into play. Many corrals get neglected after fall vaccinations and there is nothing more frustrating than having a cow in the pens and not be able to work a gate. Add the fact that she is trying to calve and having trouble and we can get in a quick mess.

After everything is fed and checked in the mornings, I have been making my rounds to different corrals to make sure everything is in working order. How many times do you drive past a set of corrals only to find tree saplings in the fence row and rusted gate hinges? Our pens are no exceptions. Equipped with a grease gun and a chainsaw I set to work; clearing a few saplings from the fence lines, greasing up a few hinges, and picking up assorted branches and debris. All in a day’s work!

It will be nice when we do have to get up a cow in trouble when I know the corrals are in working order. There have been too many times when I have found myself “Up To My Armpits” (I have to say that is my new favorite phrase for calving season!) and laying flat in the mud with snow falling on my back, all because no one made sure the pens were in good repair.

Calving season is sure to be filled with good stories, awesome memories, and something to tell the next generation when I get old. We have our first calf on the ground, so the race is on for the next 499 cows. If only we could hold off on any more snow this season….

Warm wishes from our place to yours. How’s calving season holding up around your place? Have you started yet or are they still holding off? Or maybe you’re one of the wise producers calving out in a warmer climate?

Wait a second, cannot for get all the other livestock out there. How about you horse, goat, pig, sheep, and whatever-else-I-am-missing producers? When do your new ones arrive?

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