The calves have been enjoying the springtime weather and the grass that has been growing quickly.
One calf found his way on top of an old fir stump out in the barnyard. The calf seemed happy to be king of the mountain, and he watched others as they came by but did not let anyone else climb up his high perch. He was very good at defending his ground.
It was after the others left, leaving the one calf was standing all alone on his stump, when it looked like the calf was in a quandary about the proper way to disembark from the perch. He stood there quite a while, with what appeared to be a forlorn look until finally getting up enough nerve to jump down and catch up with his penmates.
The time has come for the older calves to get their numbered eartags. We try to wait at least a month or two before clipping the tags into their ears because newborns have such tender skin and cartilage. The weight of a tag can actually malform the growing appendage causing a droopy ear for the rest of their lives. It would not hurt the calf by having a droopy ear, it just looks sad.
We tagged the 6 older calves that are out in the nursery field across the river with the next step being watch to see which calf nurses from which mother to determine the pairs. I keep my phone handy for note-taking when feeding so I can match the numbers and still be able to have that information correct when I get back to the house.
The calves were slow to get up at feeding time because the sun was shining. The critters were flopped this way and that, some lolling flat on their sides in the damp grass.
The group of sunbathers began moving when one calf decided that a bit of hay sounded tempting. One by one they got up and meandered over to their mothers to nibble awhile before nursing again.
Sitka and her calf Willow along with Quiet and SBD sneak out of the barn for a frolic in the fresh snow.
SBD is only about 24 hours old and has had his fair share of mud, grass, rain and now snow. He is much stronger today than he was yesterday and tries to run after Willow but has trouble keeping up.
Both cows are careful to keep their own babies close to them for now but within another day or two the calves will bond and become close friends.
When we went across the river to feed the main herd and the herd of cows/calves in the nursery field, we came across three of the calves that had figured out a way to escape the nursery field and partnered up in the barnyard pasture on the edge of the barn.
Butler, the dog, stood guard just beyond the fence so the wayward calves did not escape before we had the chance to get them reunited with their mothers.
The three calves had made it through the electric fence for their little get-away, but were quite sure they didn’t want to test the fortification shock values to get back to their mothers. We opened the far gate for the three amigos to first get into the barn area barnyard and then they were able to casually walk back into the pasture where their mothers were waiting for them and for their morning measure of breakfast hay in the pasture on the other side of the barn.
Jackson the dog gets frantic this time of year when the new calves are born. He just has to get in close and check for baby poop.
He has been known to go up to a calf while sleeping to lick the tail area clean, or to wake up a calf to check if there is any poop under it. The mothers do not care for him to be so close to their babies so he has learned to be real sneaky and brazen at times.
He crawls right into the pen, nose to the ground and covers every inch. The calves don’t care for the intrusion and it becomes a hokey-pokey kind of dance shuffling this way and that. The calves want to investigate who is coming into the pen but don’t want to get to close to the Unidentified Sniffing Object.
While the dog/calf commotion is going on a cow or two pulls away from eating hay in the manger and come at the dog head first. Jackson is very quick and scoots through the gate and out of the path of being crushed by the cow. But once the cows goes back to eating, Jackson goes back to poop snooping.
We have been keeping an eye on both Mona and Paulette for the last couple of weeks expecting one or both to have a calf any day.
It was a bit a surprise to see Roz with a new heifer calf by her side.
Little Zephyr weighed in at 62 lbs on 1/12/2018. We moved the pair into the nursery field with Topanga and her baby Zion.
It was purely coincidence that they both start with the letter Z since Zion was named after national parks/natural areas (Bryce, Coulee. Delta) and Zephyr was named after the line of Roz Z’s (Zima, Zippy, Zoey). I promise the next calf will not have the first letter Z (mostly because there aren’t enough words under Z in the dictionary) unless the temperature was hovering around Zero (PLEASE NO!) or the newborn began playing the zither shortly after birth.
Topanga and Roz are great mothers, they get along well in the big hay field and when they come to the barn to eat hay. The two calves were wary of each other at first but Zephyr kept following Zion around until the two got used to each other, now they play, cavort and lay down together.