Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Newest Residents of the County Line

Meet the newest residents of the County Line. This little gal got the distinction of getting the first "earring," noting her arrival. The calves born this year will get eartags beginning in "7," designating they were born in 2017. That's particularly important for the heifers which will eventually join our herd. As they come through the working chute in subsequent years, we'll be able to tell at a glance how old they are.
Randy saw this calf before we went to church. But by the time we got back home and had lunch, it was no longer a sleepy, wobbly newborn. It took both of us to corral her so we could give her the first eartag.
By that time, Calf No. 2 had arrived, too. That calf was considerably easier to catch. The mama eventually nudged it up.
But it didn't take long until it decided to take another snooze.

No. 3 (No. 702) arrived Monday night, so the 2017 maternity ward is officially off and running. (We now are up to 5 calves after another was born overnight.) All the calves being born now are coming from our heifers. These are 25 first-time moms. They were born on the County Line two years ago in 2015. So far, they are handling this parenthood thing rather well. They have all accepted their calves and are providing personal "milk machines" for their babies.

The projected due date was January 28. But, just like with human babies, they come when they are ready. We keep the heifers in a lot closer to the house so we can check on them more often.
The corrals are still sloppy after last week's ice storm. (I about lost a boot, and Randy had to come and rescue me when I tried to get photos Monday afternoon. I finally just used the zoom to get most of the photos.) There is plenty of straw spread out, but so far, the calves haven't taken advantage of the drier accommodations. 
Our first calf did find a windbreak in some tree branches. 
The calving shed is also ready for "customers." Sometimes, first-time moms have trouble with the birth and need some assistance. We can usher a heifer having problems into the calving shed and use a head gate to help keep her and us safe while we pull the calf. With temperatures falling overnight, we will likely run a few heifers who look close to calving into the shed the next few nights. 
In 2012, I wrote "The Miracle of Birth," which showed photos of the guys pulling a baby calf. Click here to read that post and see the photos. With the heifers, Randy uses a bull for "calving ease" - a bull whose progeny is lower birth weight but which gains well after birth. It would be great if we didn't have to pull any calves this winter. So far, so good, but time will tell.


  1. My goodness those ear tags are large.
    I loved the post. I hope the birthing continues on smoothly.

    1. They look big on babies. They don't look so big on adult cattle.