This is Flower Boy.
I have been asked by Rancher Girl to visit with you about January vs March calves.
Calving season started for us on Monday.
We penned a heifer in the lot in one of our pastures.
We did this because this heifer did not have a calf last year, because we lost our heifer bull during breeding season the year before.
We kept one of his sons, raised him and he is now our heifer bull.
This years heifer calf crop will be his calves.
We wanted to make sure that if she had any problems, she was in the lot where we could get her in the pens to help her if she needed it.
The reason that I like to have late January - early February babies is because it gives the calves an extra month or so to grow and be bigger at weaning time.
We generally hold the calves for 60-90 days after weaning to grow them a little bit more before we sell the calves.
Okay, the down side to having January - February calves...
First is sickness.
There are more chances for the calves to get sick and your vet medicine bill goes up, due to the cold weather.
Second is feeding.
You have to feed the momma cows more cubes so the momma can provide the nutrients that calf needs to grow and to keep the mommas body condition at optimum weight.
There is also no grass for the cows to eat.
Since there is no grass, you feed more hay to supplement the cows.
The up side to having March calves...
There are less chances for the calves to get sick.
The cold is gone.
The grass is starting to grow.
Your feed consumption starts to go down because the grass gives the cows the nutrients they need to provide for their calf.
That is why Rancher Girl prefers to have March babies.
The down side to March babies...
They are not as big, weight wise, when it's time to wean and sell the calves.
Once the time comes to sell the calves, other ranchers are starting to look for calves to turn out on winter wheat pasture.
This makes it a good time to sell your spring born calves.
Timing is everything.
Having calves born in January - February and giving them the extra time to grow will hopefully yield not only the weight that you want, but the weight that the other ranchers want to put on wheat pasture.
In turn, the calves will sell better than you expect.
Supply and demand.
I hope this explains why some ranchers want January - February calves vs March born calves.
Long Live Cowboys,
Note from Rancher Girl -
You can see who won the battle of January-February vs March calving.
I don't always have to win.
I get babies year round and flowers every month.
It's all good!