This was first published February 18, 2010.
Last night began my first heifer checking shift. For those of you new to this blog, or ranches, or cattle, you might investigate my Heifer Movies on the left sidebar of this blog. But basically, heifers are cows that are having their very first babies. We keep an extremely close eye on them. They are bovine versions of teenage mothers. They may have problems, they may decide the pain was horrible and hate their calves, they may be stupid and have it in a mud puddle. There are 63 heifers this year… and since we AI (Artificially Inseminate) the heifers, their due dates are on the same few days. That makes for insanity for a few days, but we hope it is over with fast! It never is, but we hope so all the same. My heifer checking shift is at 10 pm every night. You know, the time of night your body is slowing down, getting snuggly and relaxed. You must force yourself to leave the couch and the Olympics telecast and put on whatever warm clothes seem necessary. Last night, my light coat seemed adequate, until I stepped outside and found it snowing. Tonight I’ll grab my fleece jeans and heavy coat plus scarf, warm hat and gloves. You must be prepared to spend a few hours out in the cold if necessary. Now on that subject of snow last night… we were supposed to receive half an inch… but awoke to this…
Thanks, Mr. Weatherman, we received half an inch of *moisture* in the 5 or 6 inches of snow! Small detail. ha.
After waking to the unpredicted snow, the tractor’s three point hitch decided not to work… so I tried to help Vernon with the feeding… the calves appreciated my pitiful pitchfork skills.
Later I looked out of my kitchen window and spied Dally, covered in green slimy poop from nose to tail and mmoooooving slooooooowly. Vernon told me she headed a heifer and the heifer smashed her and rolled her. Sure enough, she has a scrape on her ribs behind her elbow and looks like she was shaved, the hair has been ripped out in a 2″ area. I imagine she’s cracked some ribs. She eats and drinks just fine, but seemingly guards that area and walks like she’s 90 years old! She also stinks like fresh manure, and I can’t give her a bath without hurting her, as if she’d like one anyway… my floors and mud room got a quick wipedown with bleach water though, to remove the smell!
Doesn’t she look pitiful? She’s not near as sparkly as she was in yesterday’s photo! Anyone up for accompanying me on my 10 o’clock shift?
(One of today’s calves, one minute old… his mom’s name is Twister… betcha can’t figure out why I named her that!) Six out of 63 calved so far.Find me here!