Sunday, May 15

Calving season

While Scott, the girls and I were out and about taking advantage of the beautiful weather last Friday evening, we also made a stop to check on ours and Bob's cows, to see how calving is coming along.

While some people calve early in the spring, or even in February, others choose to wait until this time of year, when the grass is green and the weather more predictable. While it can still snow a lot this time of year, the risk of snowstorms is generally past, and thus the risk of loosing baby calves to cold, wet weather.

Most of the cows appear to have calved, and our percentage of the herd appears to have done really well so far this season. While many producers keep a close eye on their herd during calving season, checking on and tagging each new calf, Scott chooses to go with a more low-maintenance approach. Our cows get checked on an average of once a week, and they all calve on their own, both the older cows and the first-calf heifers.

The black heifer trailing in the back here is one of our first-calf females. To help guarantee minimal calving problems, Scott uses bucking bulls to breed them for their first time around, since that type of bull is less likely to produce high birth-weight calves. Because of the bucking bull influence, some of those first calves do come out with some wild colors! While the market prefers Black Angus right now, because of the success of the Certified Angus Beef marketing program, it is a little more fun to have colorful calves each spring, instead of straight black.

I always thought the same way with raising hogs - the market prefers solid white, but when we still had our own sows and were keeping back our own blue-butt gilts, we bred them to red Duroc boars, and had some really pretty colors in our piglets!

Eventually our herd will transition to all black cows and calves, and possibly some Hereford bulls to make black white-faced, known as black baldy, calves, but for now I enjoy the colors. :-)

I liked this guy's blaze face.

Our cross-bred horned cows also aren't as docile as Black Angus cows, and usually this is the distance at which we see them.

So the grass is green, the sun is shining and the calves are healthy. In two weeks these pairs will be moved to their summer pasture up on the Association, where the calves will be branded. Scott and I are using his Lazy V Open A brand on the heifers, while I talked him into putting my C} on the steers. :-)

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