Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Busy Day

Well today was quite a busy day. 7 new babies on the ground, the good news was that we got all of them there alive. The bad news was that 4 of them had to be pulled. I think that some of the cows have gone quite a bit over their due date and now we are having issues because of that. We subscribe to the idea that it is better to pull a calf that maybe didn't need it, than to leave them too long and end up with a weak or, even worse, a dead calf. 3 of the 4 were out of heifers, and we also had 1 heifer that managed to calve all by herself. The 3 assists were all pretty big calves, I estimate in between 90-100 lbs. We'll weigh them in the morning and see for sure. 2 were pretty easy pulls, and I actually think that the one heifer probably would have had her calf alone...eventually. And the 3rd heifer was a fairly hard pull. But mama wasn't totally worn out and the calf was up pretty quickly so in the end it is all good. I'm not sure whether these big calves out of the heifers are because they are overdue, or maybe one of the 3 bulls that we used last year is throwing some larger calves. Who knows, and really not much we can do about it now. As long as we don't have any bigger problems than this I will be happy.

On another note, we are having some awesome weather here lately. Today it got to at least +10 C and another day or 2 like this, the snow will be all gone. The creeks and rivers have been running pretty full for the last week or so, and the major runoff is done now. A couple more days and things will be starting to dry off, that's the best thing about living on a sand dune, mud season doesn't last too long. Of course we'll be crying for moisture in a couple of months most likely though....

As well as dealing with the cattle, I was able to get 1 of my horses in and start cleaning her up and getting ready to start working her again. Looking forward to getting back at jumping in the near future. A couple more days and my riding arena should be good to go. Finally no more ice!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Calving Season 2014

Well, I'm going to try and give this another try. We'll see how it works, if I remember to blog a little. So please bear with me...again. Once again it is calving season and the calves are starting to come pretty fast. We've 40 calves on the ground so far and the number is growing. This year we will have quite a large number of Shorthorn x calves on the ground. I am excited, it has taken a lot of years to get here. Some of the calves so far are a little on the splashy side. I am glad that they are heifers, the colour won't affect their calf raising ability, but it sure would affect their sales value!

We had a little rough luck early, this cow had a premature calf on a fairly cold night in Febuary. I think it might have lived had we been there, but what can you do, I sure wasn't expecting her to calve. She sure wanted a calf though, and all we had to do was convince the calf that it wanted her!

And then there were 2! She sure surprised us with these to fellas. She did good though, 2 big bull calves 75 and 88 lbs, she had them all by herself and she took care of them all by herself too! Very impressive and she's in good condition to boot.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Another Year Past

Well, almost, anyways. My, time does fly, we are once again only weeks away from calving. The cows are looking fairly fat and sassy, having come through the winter fairly well.

This year we did things a bit differently with the replacement heifers, rather than pail oats to them, we ground all their feed up into one pile including oat bales which constitute their grain ration. It was all scientifically done.... Well, we know the weight of the bales and we estimated the weight of the oats in each oat bale, then mixed enough oat bales in the grinding pile to equal 5 lbs of oats per day. I am happy with how the calves look, so I guess it worked well enough. When we weigh them here around the first of March I will know for sure how well it worked.

Now comes the countdown to calving season. The first calves are due to drop about Mar 6, with the main herd following on the 8th. This year we have about 30 heifers to calve out, and I sure hope the bull we bought for them is as good as his numbers say he should be.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Branding Time

We branded and vaccinated all the calves the other day. It took 4 people and about 3 hours to get them all done. They got a 8-way vaccine and a shot of ivomec. Here is our day.

Early on, waiting their turn

Down the chute for his turn

Waiting for the vaccines and he is done.

Getting the brand.

Making sure the job is a good one.

Not too many left

Another one through the chute.

The finished bunch

More done than not......

Monday, April 6, 2009

Busy, Busy

Well, we have been quite busy with calving. We now have over 80 on the ground and about 30 left to calve. It has been a rather cold calving season, but we have had pretty good luck. We are only down one calf now, with 2 live sets of twins. As usual we have had some stuff show up that we weren't expecting, 2 heifers with no milk, and a cow I purchased this spring that appears to have had a bad case of mastitis in the past. All 3 will be taking a trip to town later this spring.

Our Milk/Nurse cow has 3 calves on her now, her own, and 1 of each set of twins. They are all doing quite well. When we brought her in to draft one of the twins on her, I weighed her calf since he was in the barn. He was 7 days old, and had put on 30 lbs since he was born. Comes out to about 3.75 lbs/day, and she looked to have a lot of milk that he wasn't using. The twins are doing quite well on her now.

Sickness has been at a minimum so far, have treated a few minor cases of scours, a joint ill, that has turned out well, a true ear infection, and a couple calves that were just 'off', don't know if it was pneumonia or what, but a couple doses of nuflor set them straight.

Some photos of the new additions for you

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Calving Season is Here

Well, we are officially into calving season. Friday morning when I did my morning check we had a new one. Mama had her all cleaned off, but it was cold and windy so I put them in the barn. Another was acting veeeery uneasy, and as it WAS cold, and I was to go work at the stockyards for a few hours, I put her in too. Did the rest of chores up without incident, checked on my girls in the barn and headed out to work. It was a small sale, so I was back by 1pm. Only gone for about 2 hours. 70 head of cows, bulls and yearlings don't take long to go through the ring.
By the time I got back, heifer #2 had the feet (or should I say foot) out, so I figured another 1/2 hour or so. Meanwhile heifer #3 was spinning circles rapidly on the straw outside, so I had to bring her in. Not a big deal, but she thought she'd rather stay outside and jumped/pushed the gate open and got back into the north corral (where we have the heifers right now) so I had to start all over. But, finally, I did get her in. By this time heifer #2 isn't too terribly happy so I left her for a little longer, to let her settle. Of course in the end the extra time didn't help her out any, we had a leg back, and I had to help. Got the baby on the ground, and mama let go and things were fine there.
Heifer #3, was a little quieter, and didn't seem to mind watching the excitement next door. Gave her a bit of time and she had her own baby. Might have lost that one though if I hadn't been checking faithfully. Had the sac over its nose. I got there in lots of time and baby is fine. So all in all we had a good day. Done well before supper and we had a good nights sleep. No new ones since. I think the best thing about it though was their numbers. Out of 29 heifers and 50 cows, #'s 154, 153 and 152 calved one after the other in that order.....

Saturday morning I had lots of help tagging the new ones. Kick the mamas out of the barn and the kids got to help move babies around. J was a little spooked, but I got her convinced to help, and once she got into it she had fun. Her favorite is the blaze faced one. M isn't real high on the cows, but once you get him out there I think he likes it.
Here are the new ones.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Into our barn

Here is the setup to get a cow into our barn at calving time (or any other time it might be necessary) It is all set up so you really never have to be in the same pen as the cow. We rarely need to work a cow that way, but it is nice when you get a surprise. As well as to get a cow into the barn, this setup works quite well for processing newborn calves away from mama. They all have to go past our barn to get to the area where we keep the brand new ones for a week or so. So when she is going past the barn it is pretty simple to pull a calf off, into the barn where it can be tagged, banded, weighed, de-horned and tattooed if necessary. And with no mama to cause you trouble all this just takes a second in complete safety. Mama waits outside for her little one.

As before, into the alley from the calving/holding pastureDown the alley we swing 2 gates which directs mama down the small alley to the barn

And down the alley into the barn. Just swing a gate and she either goes in or past.
Through the door into the barn.
The south side of the barn.
The north side of the barn. We have 4 stalls, 2 of which can be opened up into a big pen, or divided into 2 smaller ones. They are all approx 10 x 10 feet in diameter. Another of the north side. The scale is in the corner, the red toolbox holds my tagging, dehorning, tattooing and banding supplies. Forks are up off the floor and we have a supply of ropes and halters hanging there. This area could be used for calving if we really needed it as well.
The Maternity Pen, where she goes if we think she needs help. She comes in through the door and straight into the pen past the green gate, which swings to close the pen off.............. or to force her into the headgate. The gate on the far side swings away if we need extra room when assisting a cow.
Here the gate is swung as if to push a cow into the headgate. The calf puller is hung on the wall right behind so it is handy when needed.With the self-catching headgate, one person can handle the cow alone without any major problems. If she goes down she won't choke.
The option of a larger stall if we have low occupancy.

Winter Sunrise

Winter Sunrise