Monday, January 23, 2012

Preparing for calving

We prepare for calving like we did when the babes were born.  Supplies, cleaning and being as ready as possible.  We Artificially Inseminate (that's a later post) as many as our cows as possible.  This allows us to know when the cows due dates are and move them to the lot where we can watch them. 

We baby our cows because we can and because we want them to have the best start possible.  So last week we prepared the barn.  During the summer we use it for storage, turkeys and new laying chicks.  The barn is ready now.  And we are just watching the cows through the day and getting up in the middle of the night.  You never know when one of them may need help.  With the crazy weather we are having,  it can make them go a little earlier than normal.

All clean and ready for set up.

We use the Skid Steer to roll out 2 huge round bales of straw.
The straw is the bedding to keep the cows/calves warm.

All the pens up and ready for the cows to have their babes.

Each pen has a water container,  because the cows require a lot of water.  Especially after they have their babes to help produce milk.  They will be fed a certain amount of feed to help keep body condition and to produce milk.  And each pen has a heat lamp in it for the calves to lay under to stay warm.  If there are no problems and the calves do well then they will only stay in the pens for about 48 hours.

Then new bred cows are moved to the lot to be watched more closely.  That way when we see signs of labor they are moved into pens.  We have a waiting to calve group in the big lot.  And then we have the calving anytime group in the lot where the calving barn is.  That way they are easily moved into the barn so they can calve in clean bedding and warmth.

 We try and be present with each calf being born.  They get vaccinations, navels dipped and ear tagged.
 Then they go out to the lot with the bred cows.  The cows/calves are still checked daily to make sure that everyone is nursing and healthy. 

That may sound confusing or like a lot of work to some, but we wait for 9 months for these calves.  And they usually only have one calf.  And the future of the cow, our herd and our sales depend on each live, healthy birth we have.  So each and every precaution is worth it to us.

Have a great week!


Buttons said...

You are just starting and we only have about five left. Wow that was fast. I am glad it is almost over not so many checks. Maybe I can sleep a little more. We give shots at four months. Our calves thrive outside in the cedar bush we rarely have a problem. Hope you have as good of luck as we have. Have fun.B

The Coolidges said...

So exciting!! I love it when all the new babies come. We just finished lambing yesterday. Your set up is very similar to ours, only on a little bigger scale :)

Good luck, hope everything goes well and I can't wait to see pictures!

Alica said...

Hi...I found you through Buttons' blog. What a nice maternity ward you have! We have a dairy, and are calving year round, but not nearly at the volume you are, I'm sure. I've enjoyed looking around at your blog!

Lyndi said...

This looks a lot like our place Before we start the calving season! It's my favorite time of the year...