Our big momma cow, Chardonnay, has been doing double duty lately. A long time family friend had some grass acreage that needed trimming. This acreage had been used for grazing for years with six cow/calf pairs, but the farmer had sold his animals and didn’t want the responsibility of buying more to control his pastures. We trailered three of older mother cows, who were all pregnant, and sent them over to manage the pasture land for this farmer. These mommas are docile creatures and are always hungry. Since moving to this new farm, all three have been busy roaming from field to field, trimming the fast growing grass as they wandered. The cows have a barn to go into if they choose, with hay in the manger and minerals in a free-choice feeder.
The bunch seem very happy and have been growing their babies during this time. It’s almost like a vacation for them, away from the hustle and bustle of the main herd here on our farm. These momma cows each weigh about a ton, and when they are close to calving, look as wide as they are tall. The extra room to roam seems to work well for them as well as helping another farmer.
Chardonnay was close to calving, she had all the signs. Her udder filled with milk and she slowed her walk to a waddle as she grazed. She held off for several days as our friend, and his neighbor and we checked her daily for a new calf, we were all watching for the first signs of labor. Finally, without any assistance, she delivered a stout bull. The neighbor had noticed the little calf in the field and called the farmer who called us.
I was going to name him some wine-related moniker, until I got a look at him. This little guy weighed in at 87 lbs., and was hungry from the moment he hit the ground. I could not saddle him with any name that didn’t fit his strong personality or his brutish physical stature. His name is Tank.
Chardonnay is a good milker as is the nature of Black Angus. Her rich milk will sustain Tank until he is ready to start nibbling on grass and hay in a few weeks. He is already used to the other momma cows in the pastures and he travels as part of the little herd throughout the grazing areas. Chardonnay stays close by and if she needs to get a drink or some hay from the barn she walks Tank right along with her.
This group will continue to stay at this farm until the summer sun burns up the pastures. At that time the cows with their new babies will be returned home where they will be reintroduced to the main herd.