Heifers 3

So, we have gathered and sorted heifers, and now we do our night checks.

I’m in charge of the 10:30 pm night check… I’m more a night owl than Vernon, so while he might have been in bed for a couple of hours already, I’m just finishing a craft or watching the news, or reading a book… and ready to take my walk to the calving shed.
Vernon checks them at 2 am.  Johnny checks them at 5 am.
If they are calving, we’ll check them every hour or half-hour… and them help them along if they have problems.  Heifers are like teenage girls… they can have babies just fine, but are more likely to have problems and are higher risk pregnancies.  Some just need a little encouragement in what it takes to be a good momma.  Some larger babies we just help along a tad… though we use chains instead of forceps!  More on that in tomorrow’s video!
It only takes me a few minutes to walk over, depending on the depth of the snow, the presence of ice, or whether the mud is frozen or not!
I usually have a dog or two that comes with me…
depending on the temperature,
their soundness of sleep,
whether Lucas wants to get his sore paw in the mud and poo,
or whatever strikes their fancy.
I’ll share some Tales of Heifer Checking in a few days…
but for now,
listen closely,
and I’ll prepare you for your next professional calling of Heifer Checker!

Heifers 3 from Carol Greet on Vimeo.

Heifers 2

What a wonderful springlike day… 

snow melting everywhere…
runoff turning the creek from clear to red…
and more babies!
Our cows have now started having babies as well, so within two weeks we’ll be surrounded by calves – bucking, playing, running wild with tails in the air!
For now, I have the second video part of our “Heifer Chores” that we do every night.
The first video shows how we gather the heifers and put them in the corral.  Here we look closely at their udders to see if they are “bagged up” – full of milk – ready for babies.  If not, they can spend the night outside the corral.  If they are close, they’ll stay inside the corral, so if they have problems calving, we can help them.  I like this bunch of heifers… they are very calm and sweet… which helps Dally learn to slow down and relax while moving them!
Oh, and I also point out where I hit Dally with the axe the other day

Heifers 2 from Carol Greet on Vimeo.

Heifers Step 1

I have a series of videos showing how we calve our heifers.

Tonight is step one…
The gathering of the small area where they spend their days.  If any calves want to be born in daylight, we’ll just push them up to the corral and pen them.  However, if they choose to be born at night, we’ll have them in the corral and easily inspected.
Dally has been doing this task on her own.  She is calmer and works much better when she’s alone.

Heifer 1 from Carol Greet on Vimeo.

Busy Days … and Nights

We have had 21 calves in the past three days.  I guess it seemed like more but that puts us up to 31 calves, so that means we are halfway through the heifers!  Now, if only the last 31 calves would take a week!  I’m sure it won’t happen that way, and soon the cows will start as well.  At least we don’t get up in the middle of the night with the cows!
I am working on a three part video about the heifers.  No, I didn’t finish it yet… Daniel and Victoria came home for the weekend and so we had a “family” weekend… it’s kind of rude to say, “Sorry, I have to work on my video… see ya later!”  It sure helps the workload when we have kids home (except in the kitchen!).  Daniel fed the cows with his Dad every morning and tagged calves… Toria helped cook and helped with the heifer checking.  Brandon stayed in Laramie to receive recognition as outstanding sophomore ag student.  Daniel will be back next weekend as some of us are going to a bull sale…
I had a friend keep an eye on a horse at a horse sale this weekend… I thought if he went cheap enough, I’d have my friend bid on him for me… Of course, with all these babies being born I couldn’t go to the sale in Billings myself.  The horse market is down.  People try to unload horses in winter so they don’t have to feed them.  This gelding was on the small side and most people like bigger, stouter horses.  This horse didn’t have the amazing pedigree like some horses in the sale.  I figured I had a good shot at him.  I figured, oh… $2500.  My goodness, he went for $8700!  Amazing.
My photos for the day… while walking through the heifers looking for those ready to calve… I noticed the nice reflection in the puddle.
But what I noticed next… was my buddies back behind.  See them?  It is difficult to walk through 40 heifers with 3 powerful dogs at my heels!  I don’t want the heifers to move, I just want to look at them!  So… I  down-stayed my dogs.
There they waited.  While every instinct they have tells them to move – to chase those black critters.  This is, perhaps, the one characteristic that amazes me the most.  That the respect, the love, the discipline they have for me/of me/from me overrides the instinct to chase/to bite/to bark.

Busy Busy

Throughout today and last night, we have had lots of calves!

But that is what happens when you AI cows… they all are supposed to calve at the same time!
I’m working on a video… but for now, I hope you can cut me some slack since I only had 5 hours of sleep last night and have spent the day checking and rechecking the heifers.
More to come tomorrow, I promise!