Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Class of 2018: Bovine Edition

This photo taken Sunday, soon after the first baby of 2018 was born.
Welcome to the first arrivals of the Class of 2018! Our heifers were scheduled to begin calving on January 28. But, like human babies, due dates are not dictated by the calendar, but rather Mother Nature.

We have the 24 heifers in a corral near our house to make it easier to check the expectant mamas and with easy access to the calving shed, which we built a couple of years ago to replace a falling-down barn.

By definition, the heifers are expecting their first calves. Once upon a time, they were among the County Line's Class of 2016. Each year, we keep 25 of the female calves born to serve as replacement heifers for our cattle herd. (When the veterinarian did the preg checks in November, one of the 25 was scheduled for a very late arrival date, so she got pulled from the herd.)

We always schedule the heifers to calve first, since they require more frequent checks to make sure they can deliver without problems.

We try to alleviate as many problems as possible by using a bull which is expected to produce a lower birth weight baby. 
A baby girl was the first to arrive on Sunday, January 21. She got the first eartag of the year - No. 800. Each of the babies born during 2018 will get a tag that begins with an "8." As the cattle become "upperclassmen," it's easy to tell at a glance that they were born in 2018. That's especially important for the girls who will stay in our County Line herd. In a couple of years, No. 800 could be delivering a baby herself!
Number 801 is the first boy born this year. He took advantage of the comfier accommodations - hay rolled out in the corral for bedding.
The guys also freshened up the hay in the calving shed. Last night, the guys ran four heifers into the calving shed, mamas who Randy thought looked closer to calving. I always tease Randy about his cattleman prowess. Will a mama in the shed calve, giving credence to his observation skills?
This time, he was right! One of the mamas had a baby overnight - out of the wind and in the warmth provided by body heat in a small shed.
So far, the Class of 2018 consists of four members - all of whom arrived without help from the farmer.
Like that overused phrase from the movie Sunset Boulevard, the calves were "ready for their closeups." However, it won't be long before I'll need a video to keep up with their antics.
The forecast for the rest of the week shows warmer weather, perfect for calving. Let's hope the mamas agree and keep up the good work.


  1. A great start for the 2018 class. I hope it continues as smoothly.

    1. Thanks, Helen! We have nice weather for it the rest of the week.