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Monday, March 16, 2015

Moo Cow Monday #CalfWatch2015

If you follow us on the Rockin' B Ranch facebook page, you are well aware our calving season started last week.
Folks in the ranching community use the hashtag #CalfWatch2015 for quick following.
We have decided to join in.

We give our calf watch report at the end of the day.
Included is the number of calves born that day and a few stats about them.

I have to say, I won a battle with Flower Boy.
He has always been one to have calves born January to March.
He wrote about it in this post.

This last year, I have begged (yes, begged) to wait to turn bulls out until June.
June bull turn out will yield March babies.
As we all know, March is also Daylight Savings Time providing more evening light hours.
Thus we are not searching, tagging and checking cattle after dark, because we work day jobs.

We are having March babies!
I won!

Actually, Flower Boy told one of his cowboy buddies this weekend, he was somewhat glad we waited to turn bulls out.
We have had a nasty winter.
Had we been calving January through now, I have fear we would have had an entire herd of calves in our garage and bottle feeding many!

Our first baby was born on Monday, March 9, the day after Daylight Savings Time.
It was #3 cow.
She is the first cow to the feed truck and normally sticks her head in the window to say hello to Princess Sheba.
When she wasn't at the gate, we knew she had calved.

The problem with good mommas (or the good thing about good mommas) is they hide their babies for a few days before bringing them to the herd or cake line.
This forces us out of the truck and on somewhat of a hike.
I often compare searching for a calf to an Easter Egg Hunt.
Those mommas can hide their babies well!

We spent two evenings searching for the first two calves born.
 Just like magic they appear!

 Tagging is not always easy.
Our momma cows are very friendly and are use to being handled.
But there is something about the bawl of their calf that makes them a little nervous!

The key is to move quickly, keep the calf between you and momma, and always have someone stand watch.
Now, for the person standing watch (me), make sure you have your camera!
You are in for a show.

 Sometimes the rancher gets lucky and the baby is laying down.

Once tagging is complete, mommas immediately pair up with their babies and take them to safety.

Then you have the mommas who bring in backup protection!

I was not getting off the truck during that tagging!

After tagging, Flower Boy documents, in his handy dandy notebook, details of birth, sex, tag, health and mommas attitude.
This ranchers log is good record keeping to look back on if problems arise during the year or even for next years calving season.
In our operation, and most others, the calf tag number coincides with the momma's tag number.
Heifers are tagged in one ear, while bulls are tagged in the other.

The bright orange tags sure do stand out when a calf is laying in a thicket.

He thought he was hiding the entire time.

Mommas place there babies and expect them to not leave their spot until she returns for them.
Princess Sheba found this little guy in a clump of cedar trees.

The guys had to climb in and almost belly crawl in to tag him.

As of last evening, our #CalfWatch2015 was 5 calves, yielding 3 heifers and 2 bulls.
Numbers 3, 4, 14, 20 and 21 mommas and babies are all doing great!
Thanks for following along!

Rancher Girl

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