Babies are always special. My "baby" will turn 33 this year. (Not sure how that happened so fast.) And it's now been a decade since we first learned we'd be grandparents.
So why is No. 87 the one who caught my eye? Her buddies were equally cute as babies. But her distinctive facial markings had me looking for her this winter - just to see if I could find her among the crowd at the bunks when I fed every day. (She didn't have the eartag when I took the photo, so I was trying to match facial features while running the auger on the feed truck, getting it positioned, etc.)
It's "birds and bees" time on our Kansas farm. On Tuesday, No. 87 and her fellow heifers went through the working chute in preparation for this season of "love," or, more accurately, lust.
As I wrote earlier this week, the bulls had their doctor's appointments with Veterinarian Bruce Figger to make sure they were ready to fulfill their job description here on the County Line. But the bulls aren't the only factor in the "birds and bees" of a Kansas cattleman. The heifers who will become first-time mothers next winter also have been getting some extra care.
Because they require some additional attention for calving, we want to get the first-time mothers to come into estrus (or heat) at the same time. It gets the heifers' reproductive cycles "in sync" to shorten the calving season for the heifers, which saves labor at calving time. (Well, it saves some labor for the humans - not the mama cows.) We check them frequently in case they are having trouble calving.
This year's OB/GYN candidates were born in early 2020. In 2022, they will become mothers for the first time.
For 14 days, Randy added the MGA to the silage and fed the
equivalent of 1/2 a pound per head per day.
Then, on April 13, we ran the heifers through the working chute to give them a shot of of Lutalyse, which makes them come into heat.
They also get a vaccine to prevent respiratory issues and diarrhea when in the chute, but the Lutalyse is part of the "birds and bees" equation.
We also used a pour-on insecticide to guard against lice and other critters.
Out of curiosity, I looked to see if I recognized any other of the babies from that year-old blog post.
... and then.
And here's No. 54 in March of last year, waiting her turn in the lane before entering the calf cradle working chute.
No. 50 - who was in the photo with No. 87 near the top of the post as they were waiting for breakfast - was also in the March 2020 "social distancing" post. (Look at those eye lashes!)
After their shots, we turned them out into the lot with the bulls where we let nature take its course, so to speak.