A Calf’s Life: A Day in the Life of a Newborn Calf

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Ahh spring, it’s an amazing time of year isn’t it?  It’s time for flowers, mud puddles, and Easter egg hunts, chirping Blue Birds on tree branches, and best of all, new life everywhere! Every year, I, along with many other farmers, look forward to spring with anticipation because new calves mean that we were yet again blessed with the opportunity to care for a life.

So how did that life begin?

A lot has to happen before there’s a calf on the ground, and it takes a great amount of prior planning and research on the farmers part to ensure a healthy pregnancy and birth.  A farmer can choose to have their cows bred by a bull or by Artificial Insemination (AI), which is a very common practice.  Which practice the farmer chooses mostly depends on preference, and also whether the farmer is able to facilitate a bull (bulls can be dangerous and quite destructive).  After the cow is bred, she is checked in about 45-60 days to ensure that all is going well with the pregnancy.  A cow’s gestation period is typically about 283 days, and can vary slightly depending on breed.

The big event!

Now that we’ve gone through how the calf comes to be, it’s time for the main event.  When a cow is getting ready to have her calf, there’s usually some tell-tale signs.  First, she will separate herself from the rest of the herd (if she’s not in a separate pen already), she’ll probably hold her tail up, and she’ll start looking uneasy, meaning that she shifts her weight a lot.  When she’s really ready, she will lay down and start to push, and if the calf is in normal presentation, you will see two feet (pointed down) and a little calf head.  If you don’t see this, then that’s usually a sign that something is wrong in the way the calf is positioned inside, and sometimes requires a little help from the farmer in getting the calf out safely.  In just a matter of time, there will be a new bouncing baby calf!

A calf’s life

Once the calf is born, it is up and running within a few hours.  In only the first few days, it will be running circles around mamma, jumping and playing, and just enjoying life.  A typical day for the newborn and growing calf will probably begin and end with a nice hearty dose of milk, and some calf napping and fun in between (they eat a bunch throughout the day too).  All that nursing and playing makes for a fast growing calf.  In just a few months, the calf weighs a few hundred pounds and continues to grow faster every day.

A calf’s life is one of adventure and curiosity, and watching them grow is sure to put a smile on your face 🙂

 

-Haley

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Showcation: The Stock-man’s Vacation

 

Growing up with cattle, vacations came few and far between.  For me, and many of my friends, our yearly “vacation” was the county fair.  There, we would all catch up with each other’s lives, have our yearly water fight, play some cards on someone’s show box, and of course show the animals that we had worked so hard all year on.  None of us cared that we didn’t travel to the Bahama’s like the rest of our friends, we were right where we wanted to be, with our animals, and with the people we loved.

It might be a “Showcation” if…

  1. Instead of sleeping in on your “vacation”, you wake up as early as possible to be first on the wash rack, feed your animals, and clean your pens.
  2. Your best “vacation” outfits mainly consist of rinsing pants, rubber boots, old t-shirts, and some added manure.  You only get to shower and change into nice clothes after all the animals are clean and taken care of.  And even after that, you’re still gonna get dirty.
  3. For your “vacation”, you only relax for small amounts of time.  This is the moment you’ve been waiting for all year, so you work as hard you can to keep your animals clean, happy, and show-ready.
  4. It may be a “showcation” if your downtime is spent sitting at someone’s stall on lawn chairs, show boxes, and buckets.
  5. When it comes time for food, you find a friend whose mom has a crock-pot and chow down!  Fair food is fine, but nothing beats a good crock-pot sandwich.
  6. Speaking of fair food, just about every fair/show has a good ice cream stand.  Besides the main event itself, grabbing a milkshake is usually on the list of things to do on your “showcation”.
  7. Your hotel getaway is typically a camper shared with multiple other people or maybe a sleeping bag in the straw next to the cows.
  8. Instead of spending lots of money on your “vacation”, you actually make money ( or hope you do ).  Whether at the county fair or a winter jackpot show, one of the main goals is to win and hopefully make a little money.
  9. On your “showcation”, you make the best memories of your life; memories that simply can’t be made on a beach.  The memories you make are with the people that share your passion, and the animals that you have put so much hard work into and learned from along the way.  Each show and fair comes with it’s own experiences, and each experience helps make us who we are.

A “showcation” is truly unlike a typical trip to the beach, but for many people like myself, it’s the best vacation they could imagine.

 

-Haley