Mealtime in the barn with Quiet and her Valentine baby HeartThrob, and Stormy with her elfin calf Cloud, has definitely become a family thing.
The youngsters have figured out that I will lift hay high enough for them to reach when they push their heads through the stanchions while their mothers are eating.
Since I lock the mothers in while eating, the babies can eat undisturbed between them. HeartThrob has decided that he likes a nibble of molasses-laced grain with his hay. The younger Cloud has been sniffing at the grain but has yet to try a pellet.
It has been a busy week for the three cow/calf pairs were moved home from the loaner farm. Busy for the pairs, that is.
The six critters were moved into the side of the show barn with the outside pen and the three calves were fitted with the green weaning clips. The calves are 900 lbs now and one was almost weaned naturally at this point.
It was the mothers of the group that had the most trouble with realizing that their babies were not going to be nursing anymore. Topanga, the most senior and most vocal of the bunch would rattle the metal roof of the barn when she bellowed. In the 6 months that the bunch had been gone from the farm, I had forgotten just how loud and bossy she really can be.
The mothers have now been separated from the calves and moved across the river to the main herd so they can spend quality time with the herd sire.
These three calves are very comfy in the barn with outside pen. They get all the hay they want, along with chopped up apples and a generous supply of grass screening pellets.
The calves will be moved in a few days to join the cows on the other side of this barn and will continue to be spoiled rotten along with the show cows.
Shortly after completing the temporary fence across the hayfield, we moved the herd of mother cows with calves and the remaining six cows that are still waiting to deliver across the field to the area around the barns/hillside for grazing. Continue reading
5/11/17 was busy for Rosalie. She was delivering her baby but it was also time to eat. She was quite sure that she could do both at the same time.
Petals the heifer weighed 74 lbs. at birth. The moment that Rosalie had her baby cleaned off and standing up, she went back to eating in the tall grass.
The baby stayed close to mom as Rosalie was busy even though there was a lot of wobbly-legged flopping about.
It wasn’t too long before Petals figured out what to do with her long legs that she realized she was hungry and looked to Rosalie for something to eat. She started bumping along her mothers side until she found the source for the milk supply.
Petals starting nursing even before Rosalie was able to expel the afterbirth.
Rosalie took it all in stride and was very calm with her new calf even though she was hungry and busy with the post-partum business as well.
5/10/17 was busy for the herd. A second calf was born on the same day as Quartz.
#99 Softly delivered a bull calf weighing in at 75 lbs.
We have been doing word play with the names of Softly’s offspring tied in to the old TV show Get Smart. Last years calf was named after Agent 99, we named her B. Felden. This years calf will be named after Maxwell Smart’s boss, Chief.
Using the wordplay is not only a way to come up with names after doing it for so many years. I averaged out the number of calves times the number of years we have been raising registered stock and figured that there have been about 1000 calves. That is a lot of names.
By connecting the offspring to the mother with this game I can remember who is who much better. Just the other day I was trying to remember the name of the first calf of the season. By knowing the name of the mother, Sitka, I was able to deduce that the baby’s name had to do with a tree. A light ruffle of my mental roll-a-Dex brought up the name Peach rather quickly.
Mother cow #64 Suzy Q led the way out of the shade and into the bright sunshine for her newborn on 5/10/2017. Quartz the heifer calf weighed 71 lbs. and jogged along on unsteady legs as she joined her mother through the open gate.
Suzy Q was not hesitant about having her baby in with the rest of the main herd and the pair joined right in with feeding and grazing along the hillside.
The nice weather was a treat for the animals and Suzy Q was quick to get Quartz to take a nap in the full sun that warmed the short grass on the side hill. Quartz was joined in naptime with several of the other younger calves. For several hours they were just little black dots in the green grass as they soaked in the warmth.
#76 Blackie was acting strangely when we started feeding. She was watching the brush under some big alder trees. It had been apparent for the last couple of weeks that she was getting close to calving and we were certain she was watching a newborn from a distance.
Sure enough, when we got closer to the tree and brush line, Tucked right behind a log that had washed in during high water, we could see an outline of a little calf.
Blackie walked with us right over to the calf so we fed her a slab of hay right next to her baby.
Welcome to the farm Sable, born 5/3/17. She is a healthy heifer that weighed in at 63 lbs.