Here’s the deal….after hubby’s last cow/heifer check around 8PM…off to bed he goes and I stay up to do the 9PM until midnight’sh checks.
This is productivity time, right? When women have a stretch of uninterrupted hours….we accomplish things!
For me, it’s email catchup, laundry, tidying up, cow-checking, baking, meal-planning, bill-paying, blogging, cow-checking, revisiting webinars I registered for but wasn’t able to attend “live”, photo-editing, Oilers hockey to watch, record-keeping, cow-checking……
Sometimes sad things happen here on the ranch. Whenever animals are involved, you can bet you’ll experience some grief from time to time. This is especially true for someone like myself. I get very attached to practically every living thing around here!
We lost our very second calf born out in the cold just as calving was barely getting going a few days ago here. This was the first calf for this heifer and she is a lovely, quiet animal. Every good rancher wants to keep a healthy, lactating cow doing just that. So we needed to put a twin on her. Of course, we have none in our herd, so hubby reaches out to his network and locates a buddy with plenty of twins on hand already.
This means we take a road trip the very same day and pickup a lovely little quiet heifer calf. She got the whole back seat of the truck to herself and traveled like a seasoned tourist. Thank goodness, as otherwise she would have been hogtied…I can’t bear to put a sweet animal into that discomfort.
Needless to say, her entry into our herd on this sad day of loss certainly lightened my day, especially so when momma took her on like a champ and the little gal was able to suck away and right away.
The irony of this whole episode occurred next day when we received 2 sets of twins from 2 heifers one after the other. We are blessed!
Our calving season 2023 is underway. According to the calving record book calendar…..it wasn’t to be happening until next week. I know, I know….mother nature has her own calendar and we continue to be humbled by it year after year.
The March weather is giving us grief and challenges. We are grateful for our big hip-roof barn for sheltering mommas with their newborns but unfortunately we haven’t been able to heat it due to some technical hiccups with our ancient heater and the inability to get the propane company delivery truck out here to fill our propane tank! We have to call and deal with someone in a call center most likely in the maritimes (or from their bedroom – who knows these virtual-work-from-home-days??!!) What a beautiful and welcome sight – when that propane truck finally drove into our yard!!
Meanwhile, and this is a first for us, we had back to back twins delivered from a couple of our first calf heifers in the midst of this chill and these challenges. Always exciting to have twins come along – but at the same time, they provide another subset of issues on top of the normal calving and feeding routines for the rest of the herd on a daily basis. Will the mother accept them? Even if she does, will she have enough milk to feed both? (Especially a concern with first calvers).
This little twin was telling me she could use a little more to eat…so I have a warm supply of milk replacer always on hand to help out. Bottle babies are a little more work but it’s sure rewarding to have them need you now and then.
There are probably more rewards than challenges during these long days and nights of calving. Tonight we celebrated the warmth of our barn since that welcome visit from the propane truck and hung out there while our heifer calved peacefully in the pen beside us.