Calving Season 2020

“I’m ready to start calving heifers until it’s time to start calving heifers.” Haha! It’s the time of year where One Cute Cowboy hardly get to slow down (not that he does very often anyway) but this time of year especially keeps him busy, checking on heifers all day, everyday and through every night. This seems to be the time of year my readers are most curious about so I decided to do a little update.

Instead of “Mama Bear” more like “Mama Cow”
A lot of nights when I look out my windows, this is my view. One Cute Cowboy out in the barn, taking care of mamas and their babies.

This year One Cute Cowboy had a different plan for calving. This winter he and my father-in-law built some panels and gates to make part of our tack house into a calving barn. I’m so dang proud of One Cute Cowboy and how this turned out! Normally, if a calf had to be pulled it was done outside, in a chute, no matter the weather. Then if it was really cold, we only have one small calving barn that would only fit one pair, so if we needed to warm up more than one pair, we had to take the calf to be sure and get the calf warm, leaving it’s mama outside. But now I’m happy to say, we have 4 pens for pairs, and if we needed 5, we still have our small calving barn that is actually now the home to our ranch cats. 😊

I was trying not to disturb this mama and her new calf.

Not 24 hours after I’d written this draft, the stalls were filled! 4 mamas and their sweet babies!

This is the time of year that can be both incredibly joyful, and incredibly heart-wrenching. I love seeing the baby calves being born and the mothers that take them and love them, protect them, and feed them. Then there can also be a lot of hardship in this season…really in ranching itself. Losing calves and sometimes mamas. Seeing a mama reject her calf. Seeing other mamas trying to claim calves that aren’t theirs. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, ranching is not for the faint of heart, especially during calving season.

Ranch cat, Sinatra, calving expert.
His apprentice, Hap.

I’ll be honest, being a lover of the whole animal kingdom, there are times that ranching life seems especially hard. I believe all true ranchers are animal lovers though, we wouldn’t do what we do if we weren’t. I’m incredibly proud of my heritage and lineage of cattle ranchers and cowboys and cowgirls. I’m immensely proud of my husband who day in and day out works on caring for and improving, and educating himself on what’s best for our herd. In the barns and at home. 😊

I’m thankful to have the opportunity to bring my son up on the ranch in today’s world. To teach him compassion and kindness to all God’s creatures, courage and bravery in times of hardship, and knowing how to have work ethic and not be afraid to lend a helping hand; these things I pray for him. Thank God for the rancher.

Calving Season

A mama cow and her new born calf standing in the sunset of the high plains grass.
It’s here. The time of year that One Cute Cowboy is getting up throughout the night, along with my dad, and brother-in-law, to check for calves. It’s not an easy season, can be heartbreaking, but also incredibly rewarding. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart. 

A Cowboy checking out a new born calf, watching it stand up.
There is checking, and re-checking, waiting, hurrying, and hopefully very few trips to the vet.

After they’re born there’s a lot of watching-watching to make sure the mama claims them, making sure they get up, making sure they get that first meal. There’s tagging and weighing, and making sure all is matched up.

A Cowboy tagging a calf, while the mama cow stands close by watching.

Mamas don’t like when the cowboys get too close to their babies.


 
Sunday we had 4 babies, which is a pretty big day for a pen of heifers. Two were born naturally and were on the ground when one of the cowboys went out to check. One was pulled by my dad and One Cute Cowboy early yesterday morning, and one we had to rush to the vet and finally after much trying, was born weighing a whopping 95lbs by C-Section. That was a first for me. Those of you who aren’t familiar with cows and heifers (heifers=first time mamas) a desired birth weight for a heifer having a calf is about 60lbs. So this calf is a whole 35lbs heavier than a normal heifer birth. Woah! We were thankful for our local vets Carrie Jo & Rusty.

(I have a picture of this, but maybe it’s too much for my readers.)

Today we’ve had 8 calves. The cowboys (my dad, brother-in-law, and One Cute Cowboy) have been busy busy. One was pulled in the wee hours of the morning by OCC and my brother-in-law. But don’t let them fool you, they love it!

Two cowboys drenching a new born calf.
Every now and then you have a baby whose mama won’t claim it, or a mama that doesn’t have enough milk, or maybe they lost their mama. That’s where a big part of my role comes into play (besides waking One Cute Cowboy up in the middle of the night to go check heifers) that’s when bottle-feeding is needed. It’s my speciality! There are few things I enjoy more on the ranch than bottle feeding baby calves. Though I hate the reason for needing to bottle feed, I enjoy being those babie’s mama for a short while. 

A bottle calf trying to nurse on the feeders jacket

Always trying to nurse on my jacket.

A close up of a baby bottle calf.
This is my current baby, Maybell. She’s as sweet as they come, and has become quite the little sassy pants. She loves to drink her bottle while you rub on her sides. Her little tail just swishes back and forth in happiness. She’s about 10 days old.

Black cat, looking into the cow owns

Pen boss and mid-wife, Mama


To say calving season is busy, would be an overwhelming understatement. But trust me, it’s the very thing these cowboys live for. Seeing their hard work pay off. Caring for these heifers and cows, striving to help them in every way possible. They always want the very best for each animal. They love them deeply. For this reason I’m proud to be a rancher, a rancher’s wife, and a rancher’s daughter. May the traditions live on. ❤

A Cowboy on his horse, riding through a pasture in the sunset

*ASpottedHeart