Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cold With a Chance of Babies

The County Line is proud to announce its first baby of 2014. 
The bouncing baby girl arrived January 22, 
weighing in at about 75 pounds,
ahead of its projected January 28 due date.
Baby is the spitting image of its mother.
Both mama and baby are doing fine.

Wouldn't you know that calving would begin as winter returns with a vengeance? With a temperature of 0 and wind gusts up to 36 mph, wind chill values could fall to -10 to -15 across central Kansas, according to the National Weather Service. Randy loaded new batteries into his high-powered flashlight yesterday, so he was ready for his late night and early morning checks of our maternity ward. (As of 6 this morning, no more new babies.)

The first baby of 2014 arrived from a heifer, a first-time mama. It got a 400 tag number, with the "4" signifying its birth year. The next one born will get the 401 tag, and so on. We have 23 heifers to calve this year. Last year, Randy opted not to calve out heifers. Because of the drought, he sold cattle early. Plus, with his back surgery in November 2012, he knew he couldn't help Jake with pulling any calves when a mother had a difficult delivery. 

Our 87 cows should start calving around February 10.

Last evening, the little calf bawled for its mama. 
Two heifers came running to little 400's call. It reminded me of the children's book, Are You My Mother?
But only one was able to provide the "chuckwagon" the little calf wanted. (There might be just a little family resemblance, too.)
One down, 109 to go! Here's hoping that some will opt for temperatures in the 50s this weekend instead of the bitter cold of today.


  1. We admire the dedication you & Randy have to farming. We may live in the big city now, but our roots are certainly more at home with the topics of your blog. Be careful in the cold blast. We'll be sending warm thoughts your way.

    1. Thanks, Debora! It's always great to hear from you.

  2. Congrats!!! Don't they always calve when a storm is brewing? We just brought all our heifers in to the calving lots. Some look so so close. We tag the babies with the last 2 digits of mama's tag. We tag our heifers when we preg them with the starting number the year they were born.
    Good luck with the rest of calving and try to stay warm.

    1. Yes, I figure the weather change was just the nudge they needed. We did lose a calf today, but Randy isn't sure that it was related to the cold.

  3. My mother told me that when it was too cold that Daddy would bring the baby calf into the kitchen. I was too little to remember that. Guess you have too many for that to be an option. Mary Jane Hawver McEntire

    1. Yes, Randy hasn't brought them into the house. However, he carries a blanket with him during calving season. When it's really cold, he wraps up the baby in the blanket and puts the baby on the floor of the pickup to warm it up.

    2. That sounds like a better idea but Mom said that she thought it was fun. Mary Jane