We only start the tractor once a week for feeding. Frank feeds in several areas, so all we have to do, is open gates and move the girls to the next feeding spot. We haven't fed cattle in a corral for almost 15 years. We feed them in the pastures, and hay fields throughout the winter. Put the manure out on the fields where it belongs from the get go. No need to hire somebody to clean corrals come spring.
With a calf being born Tuesday evening, I've had to re-juggle the feeding schedule. I skipped a pasture, that is the farthest away from the house. I didn't want a newborn calf that far from home. Harold's Mess, is what we call that pasture, is on the back half of the home quarter. They were suppose to be fed in Harold's Mess yesterday, instead they were fed in the South paddock. Today they got fed in the West field- which was suppose to be, tomorrow's feeding. The corral is adjacent to the south paddock and the west field. We put a temporary fence up last fall, going out on an angle in the west field to the cow shed that is there. The corral, the temporary fence and shed are for the minis, the weanlings, and for my sheep.
As the cows were walking through the gate from the South paddock into the West field, Charlie was having a spaz attack. He was running up and down the fence line. He was adamant that he was going get a closer look at this calf. See. Charlie is going on six, and this is the first time in his life, that he has seen a calf! And Charlie was trying desperately to get through the page wire fence. Oh, the page wire fence isn't small. The 'squares' are probably about two feet. Charlie was poking his head through the page wrie, and straining to get a better look. I thought it was quite cute really. To see this tiny little horse trying with all his might, to get a closer look. He reminded me of those chicks going nuts for the Beatles! Minus the screaming though! And I didn't have the camera! Holding head down in shame.
When I went out and did evening chores, I found Charlie still at the fence line watching this calf!! Poor Charlie!!
You know how yesterday I was saying what signs that kindof let you know when a cow is getting ready to calve? Well if not, lets recap:
udder getting big and tight
Than there is this.
The tail in the air.
At first you may think she is just doin her business. But upon further inspection-meaning there aint nothin comin out in line of fresh fertilizer. You know some monkey business is going to happen.
I really do enjoy calving season.
I like watching the new calves running around and jumping and playing with each other. Their curiosity. Their gorgeous big eyes.
But this is what I hate about calving season.
One, the day was warm and sunny all day. Yeah to easy to calve during daylight hours. Nope! Gotta get busy with labour late in the day, because we are going to calve when it is dark out there! Which means, I have to mess with a spotlight. Ok. That part is okay. Because we finally have a spotlight. No messin around with no puny flashlight beam, that couldn't pick up the eyes of a mouse in the dark. No. But this spotlight could!
Its. Dark. Out. There!
You guessed it! Cheryl is afraid of the dark!!
Hey, I even have a night light. Not in my bedroom though. But I do have a night light.
Two, lets calve in the bush. 'Nuf said.
Three, lets calve in the dark!! Oh, I said that already.
Four, calve when I don't have anybody available to assist me, if I needed help.
I have to give her a bit of credit though. She did finally move out of the bush onto the bedding.
It is -5 out there. Clear sky. So the temperature might dip further. I am also hoping that she is going to lick the calf. She is softly mooing to it. So hopefully she mothers up. I put a call into the neighbour for advice, but no answer. I think Tuesday is hockey night. I will go out and check on her once more this evening, just to make sure the calf is up, and trying to suckle.
Today is the beginning of a new work week. Hubby is gone back to camp. He should be home late Friday evening. Maddie went home with Jamie, Brad and the kids, last Monday. Hopefully, she will be home by the third week in March. She plans on heading to Barrhead later this week, to visit LeeAnne, a school chum.
Young Frank has been at camp most of the fall and winter. He managed to be home last weekend for his sisters's visit. But now, he too, is gone.
That leaves just me, the dogs, and the cats to hold down the ponderosa.
I wonder how useless helpful the dogs are really going to be.
Shy Guy and Nacho
I haven't done any of the chores this winter.
No need to. Maddie was here.
But now that it is just me, I am in charge. Oh! It has been a few years since it was just me. And I miss it!
But with a kid at home. I rather see her out there, than sitting in her room.
But I relish, being in charge!!!
We have a Simmental heifer getting ready to calve. How do we tell? Well. I am glad you all asked.
I took pictures. To help explain.
This is the heifer in question. A heifer is a first time calfer. She will be two years old this spring. We don't know exactly what day she will calve, but we know she is getting close. There are tell-tale signs.
what we like to call 'mushy butt'.
For comparison, here is Miss Dolly's butt.
Can you notice the difference? The heifer's butt is all fleshy, swollen and Miss Dolly's isn't.
Another way of us telling:
Her bag (udder) is starting to fill out and get tight.
When she gets closer to calving she will start acting 'stupid'. Well, that is what we call it. She will be off by herself. Sniffing the ground. Laying down, getting up.Over and over. Than you know the birthing isn't to far off.
I love calving season.
But I told this heifer, she would have to wait until Saturday when Frank is home to calf. This way if there is any problems, Frank can deal with it.
Wondering what the name change is? Well, since I am the only person here. I was thinking I should call the farm,
"The Lone Woman Ranch".
What do you all think?
ps: I have now finished 57 of the frames and foundations