With the promise of new beginnings, the ground is attempting to dry, the daffodils are starting to poke up out of the dirt, buds are starting to swell and the cows are acting antsy.
The other day, I told you about half of the herd separating from the main group to go off tramping through the woods, now it is the mother cows in the nursery field that have gotten that nagging itch to search for new adventures. When I walked across the bridge to do some early morning firewood production, I noticed only one cow in the nursery field. It was highly unusual. The mothers are very protective of their little ones and the calves hang out together so the big cows can babysit while some of the others wander to the far back of the field for a drink from the spring. One cow by herself just doesn’t happen, except for today.
It took a little exploration, but I found that someone (and nobody is confessing to being the culprit) had been rubbing on a wooden post that holds the fence up between the nursery field and the six acre field. There was evidence of this from the black hair left behind along with the smooth spot on the post that was now flat on the ground, broken off at dirt level. There were the three strands of barb wire stomped into the mud where the rest of the nursery animals had walked through the surprise opening.
Around the corner and down in the dip the herd of mother cows with all the calves were happily munching away. It would be my guess that the lone cow still in the nursery field had been in the back by the spring when the rest of the herd took off for greener pastures and she would be reuniting with the rest of them shortly when she grazed her way toward the six acre field.
Looks like today will be fence fixing day. It wasn’t on the original plan of activities, but there is something in the air that makes me think that if I don’t take care of this issue right away there may be more problems ahead.
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I am delighted to announce that the new book by MaryJane Nordgren, Nandria’s War, is available to the public and can be purchased through my website, SchmidlinAngusFarms.com!
Paulette is showing all the signs of impending delivery. Her belly is big, her back is beginning to sway with her tail head tipping up, her back end is getting floppy and she is starting to limp. Paulette’s limp is what we watch for each year, as the baby weight shifts and gets heavier, Paulette tends to have foot issues.
The last three years, which is also three babies worth, she has limped before calving. We have checked her feet and there have been no problems with her toenails, couldn’t find any sores or cracking, and we couldn’t find any sprains or infections. The pressure of the calf and her body changing seems to be the issue. After the baby is born and her hips shift back to non-pregnancy alignment, Paulette has always gotten back to normal strides without any limp at all.
In this case, Paulette’s age is not working for her, each year it is a little tougher for her as the limp becomes more pronounced. Her affliction has not hampered her from having some of our best calves each year, but the time is nearing when she will not be able to continue being a breeding member of the herd.
For now, we have moved her into the nursery field with Opal, #7 and their calves while we await the new arrival. In the nursery field Paulette will have easier walking, will not be competing with the more able-bodied main herd, have closer water sources and when the weather turns nasty, she can go into the barn to lounge around in soft wood chips. Until she decides to deliver we are all on baby watch.
Since mrssusanschmidlin.wordpress.com is nearly out of data, the complete story can be found at SchmidlinAngusFarms.com with all the pictures! I encourage you to check it out, get your information in on the FOLLOW button spot, and get every story in full color. I would be grateful if you did want to do any cyber shopping to use my links on the stories. By using my links, I get credit for directing people to shop and may make a small commission without any cost to you! Your support helps support the website to be available for the daily stories. Thank you for supporting SchmidlinAngusFarms.com
We had moved Suduko out into the field with all the other cow/calf pairs last week when it looked like she was close to calving.
On this day, Suduko’s brand new baby was all cleaned off and the pair were waiting patiently for hay to be served in the nursery field when we went out to feed.
Suduko is a mild-mannered well-established cow and a very attentive mother. The warmer weather is an added bonus for this new baby.
Welcome to the farm Yahtzee, a cute little heifer, weighing in at 66 lbs on 4/21/2018.
We try to hold off until a cow is very near birthing or just after delivering before we move her into the nursery field so the turf is less likely to get torn up from all the foot prints.
With forecasts of rain (with some of it very heavy) expected for the next week, we have pre-sorted #68 Sapphire from the main herd and out into the nursery field. She lost her mucus plug and that is a good sign that there is only a few days before calving and we wanted her to stay out of the muddy areas that dirty up udders and the calves that they birth. And for those keeping count, Sapphire is the mother to the bull #16 Blue who was sold and just moved to his own herd a few days ago.
We are still waiting on Paulette who is either having a very large calf or twins (we thought she was close to calving for the last month). She is wider than a caboose and practically waddles as she walks. She sure isn’t missing any meals.
As I was walking the rolling slopes of the big hay field soon to be filled with the new mothers and calves, I noticed that I was not alone.
Over the horizon of the next hillock, sets of eyes were watching.
A herd of elk stretched from one side of the field to the other across the back of the big hay field, dotting the area just beyond the inside fence and before the tree line.
They were watching me intently as I tried to get a good count on the critters.
Before the herd took off in a mass evacuation, I counted at least 30 elk. I saw 3 with horns, 2 of them being spikes and one branch bull. Several of this years calves were spotted mixed in with the big cows even though it is hard to distinguish them while the herd is moving because they must weigh 400 lbs. or more already.
In a flash, the herd jumped the fence and headed off into the trees. The sound of the herd crashing through the river sounded a few minutes later as they ran to safer ground.
Imagine a garden hose that has the inner rubber lining thinning and causing the outer wraps of the hose to expand and grow larger than the intended diameter. Some cows experience that same kind of deterioration.
The cow #7 is 7 years old and she has ‘boobular’ issues. The underlying structure of her teats has broken down as she has been maturing. During the summer and winter months the issue is not a problem, but during calving, her large bag and even bigger teats tend to drag in the mud and the muck leaving a most undesirable dinner plate for newborns. In addition, the extra large teats are quite cumbersome for newborns to maneuver around to get a solid grip for a satisfying meal.
Normally, we would cull this animal from the herd because of the extra care needed to keep her and her calf healthy. #7 has shown herself to be of good gentle disposition where we can get her moved from pen to field easily and she is a wonderful mother who has raised several really good calves that have been sold with a nice profit. She has earned her keep even with the extra work.
It may still be several days, but #7 was looking like she was getting close to calving so we moved her out into the nursery field with the other mothers with babies so that her bag could get cleaned up before she calved. We may still have to help her newborn learn to nurse from the ‘balloon boobs’, but at least they will be clean when she does decide to deliver.
We could see Blush about 200 feet from the rest of the cows off to herself. It was obvious she was in labor.
Little Maroon was born in the back of the big nursery field just as we were feeding the rest of the cows and babies. As we got closer we could see the minute-old calf struggling to stand. We gave Blush a slab of hay to eat.
She was very hungry from all the birthing business and took time to eat her fill while Maroon stood and flopped countless times around her until finally getting his feet to cooperate enough for forward movement. He was hungry after all that birthing business also and took right to eating.
From birth to standing and nursing, all in about 15 minutes.