There is not a day on the ranch when I can walk outside and know what will come. The closest to a sure plan, especially during calving season, is to check every herd of cows and say I will go from there.
Sundays are usually a slack day on the ranch. We work hard on Saturday to get everything fed so Sunday can be spent with church family and friends. I usually step out the door shortly after day breaks and make a drive through each herd, making sure all are healthy and okay, and attempt to make it back to the house by 9:30 so I can make it to church services on time. Not every Sunday is like this.
This week, I knew Sunday morning would be a rush. The first two herds each had new calves and a couple of cows that were very close to calving. Everything was great, it was warm enough for only a t-shirt, but the heifers had other plans. One of the heifers was in labor with only one foot visible. In the past I have jumped the gun to help cows in labor, so I am working on that. I gave the heifer another 30 minutes to see if progress would be made while I checked two other herds. When I returned, the calf was in the same position. Looked like time to sleeve up.
It is an awesome thing to have a young horse that I can effortlessly throw in the trailer and haul down the road to gather cattle. My mare is far from finished, but she is a trooper when it comes to working time. I have never dealt with a situation with a woman in labor, but if she has a temperament anything like a cow in labor… I can only imagine. I got the cow in the corral and pushed her into the squeeze chute.
The calf was in the correct position and was still alive. So far so good. Only it was a large calf and the young heifer did not have the strength to deliver him. Luckily there was no need to run to the barn to gather supplies, because I carry everything in the pickup needed to deliver a calf
Calving season can be lots of fun, yet at the same time very exhausting. Some days I just have to throw the plans out the window and roll with whatever comes my way. These cows keep me busy and glued to the ranch for 3 months, but the reward is seeing those young calves buck and play in the pastures on a warm sunny day.
Days like this also remind me why I do not leave the house on Sunday morning without my coffee, because as soon as I think it will be quick trip, the cows will soon hear about it and change my plans.