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Monday, May 12, 2014

Trying To Hide

We are wrapping up our calving season.
This year has been a longer than normal calving season.
Partly due to the house build.
Our lives got so busy we didn't have this girls' cycles in sync.
Flower Boy has vowed to never have this issue again.
He wants all the spring born babies born early and within a 45 to 60 day window.
His goal is to have all our babies on the ground by March 15.
This allows the mommas time to recover from birthing, add some weight and be prepared to receive the bull for breeding.
(I will try to get Flower Boy to talk to you about that later.)

Today, I want to talk about mommas and their babies.

After giving birth, some mommas bring their babies directly up to the herd.
 This is not typical of our mommas.

If our mommas do bring the babies up, they keep their distance and often times tell the baby to lay down before the momma comes to the cake line.
 While they are eating they keep a very close eye on their baby.

Most of the time, our mommas hide their babies for several days.
They place them in tall grass, under a cedar tree or in a low spot in the ground.
Anywhere they think the baby can't be seen.
This is one of the reasons Flower Boy and Charlie ride pastures.

It is easier for Flower Boy to see the babies from Charlie's back, rather than driving the pastures in the feed truck and taking the risk of running over a calf.
The view is much better setting a top a horse that is 15 hands high, than that of the truck seat that is 4 feet off the ground.

We have walked the pastures before in search of babies.
Only to have walked over the babies several times and never seeing them.

Mommas are really good at hiding their babies
It's like hunting Easter Eggs!

Dona had her calf a few days ago.
Due to activities with Drewman, Flower Boy and Charlie haven't had time to ride pastures.
Last evening, while we were checking cattle, I spied a baby in the grass.
"There's Dona's baby.  It's got a white face."
All the other babies are solid black.

Then boom!
It dropped it's head back down, as if to be hidden again.

Babies that are hidden by their mommas don't move much.
Momma will return and give the signal for her baby to get up.
 There have been times when momma has given a signal for her baby to get up, we never knew there was a baby hidden.

One would have fear that a momma would forget where she hid her baby.
Mommas NEVER forget!

The purpose of momma hiding the baby is to keep them safe.
Momma doesn't want to bring them to the herd and let them wonder the pasture until the babies have their legs under them.
Momma needs to be confident her baby is strong enough to be up with the other calves and mommas.
The bigger babies will run, butt and play a little rougher than the young ones.
Rest assured, if a new baby happens on the wrong mommas teet, that momma will make sure he doesn't stay for long.

Not to mention, the momma hides her baby to keep them safe from predators.
We don't seem to have much problem there.
Although last year, we did have an issue with some dogs.
We lost two newborn calves to them.
Flower Boy had to take care of the problem.
Something a rancher, nor a dog lover, wants to have to do.
We have to do what has to be done to keep the herd safe.

We had another new baby born yesterday.
Flower Boy and Charlie may ride the pasture this evening.
Clouds are starting to move in and Flower Boy reports rain falling north and south of the ranch.
We will see what the weather is like when we get home from our day jobs.

Happy Monday!
Rancher Girl

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