It is a busy, busy time here at the ranch. Spring means calving season and the babies are arriving right on time. At this writing we've had three calves in two days and more are on the way. Calving season is a fun and exhausting time. Fun to see the new little ones, exhausting because they always seem to come in the middle of the night. I am old and need my sleep! It has even been suggested that I get cranky when I don't get enough sleep - probably true.
This little critter is a nice bull calf from a first time heifer mother. She had a bit of trouble with him and we had to help her pull him out. That is really quite unusual for our cattle to need help birthing. In the previous four years we've had calves the mothers have all birthed naturally on their own - as did the other heifer in the pictures. Ease of calving and good mothering instincts are two of the reasons we have Lowlines.
When the calves are born the cows lick them all over which is a bonding period for them. The cows also start nudging the calf to stand up within just a few minutes. Usually the new calf is up on it's wobbly legs and trying to nurse within ten to fifteen minutes of birth. It is always remarkable to me how soon they are able to be up and around. The calf in the picture above is not even a day old yet and he is already exploring every corner of the maternity pasture - usually with his worried mother following along behind. If he gets too far away from her, she will bellow to let him know that is unacceptable. In just a couple of days the cows will have the calf trained to stay by her side.
As the calves are born we weigh them, this one was 72 pounds which is just right. We also put in their ear tags so we can keep track of which calf belongs to which mother. They really don't seem to mind the ear tag much, they are up and walking around again as soon as we are done. The other cows in the pen are very protective of the newborns and we see them licking each other's calves quite often.
So, for our calving season this year three down and seven to go. Hopefully we will have all strong, healthy cows and calves.