Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Calving Season

Hello again. Since the last post we have moved the cows home from the high country. We were moving the cows out in the middle of November, which is normal. However, we got a bit of weather, actually quite a bit more than we normally get that time of year.

It didn’t take us long to move out and the weather actually broke and cooperated; it proved to be just the beginning. If anyone is actually reading this blog and you live in California you’ll remember December 2010 was quite wet, or snowy depending on where you live. Not long after we got the cows home we got more snow, but after a bit it turned to rain and was gone.

Ever since the first of the year our main activity has been takeing care of the first calf heifers. That is our term for a young cow that has never had a calf. They require extra care, feed and obsevation. These are first calf heifers pictured above. We keep them in a pasture of about 200 acres. When they start calving approxiamately January 15th we start riding through them horseback about three to four times a day. They are very inexperienced and do some dumb things. Some examples of heifer behavior are; giving birth just fine and then walking away - so we must find the heifer and take her back and try to bond her to the calf, some try to steal other heifer’s calves, some can’t give birth and we must assist the birth, occasionally we have ceasarian sections, sometimes the calves are weak and we must bottle feed them until the gain strength, some heifers won’t accept their calves and we will graft them on another heifer that is more maternal. When the calves are born they get an eartag with their mothers number on it and source identification number that can be traced back to our ranch.

The calving season for the heifer is about 45 days. We start about 4:00 am and stay with the heifers until dark then we will make checks during the night if there are heifers that might calve.

We are finished calving now and are into the housekeeping month; March. This is a frenetic month for us we are all over the ranch fixing fence, repairing corrals and facilities, cleaning ditches, starting colts, and doing range improvement burns. We only have until the middle of April because we start the spring works.

Well so long for now from the desert.