Sunday, January 31, 2016

Cow wrastling.

I had plans this morning, at this moment I cannot remember exactly what they were but I absolutely had them. No more.  Just as Annmarie was leaving for church, all dolled up, I received a phone call from my mother-in-law stating there was a new baby calf!  She was worried the new momma cow was going to push the baby through her fence and we would have another dead baby. She then got off the phone quickly because she saw Annmarie stopping to look at the baby and she anticipated me getting another phone call. Annmarie called five seconds later to tell me there was a new baby!

Brand new calf, first of 2016

She then stated that the momma was pulling away from the baby and it was only able to latch on for 15-20 seconds at a time because momma kept moving around. This promoted a cancellation of church attendance and all of us putting on work clothes so we could get the momma and baby into one of our new fancy corrals.

I read the results of a medical study that stated if you consume FOUR cups of coffee daily you will extend your life. I have been on board with this finding and diligently pursue every coffee opportunity possible. I made coffee in thermos mug so I could drink it when we went out to herd the momma. As this is a health goal, I skipped breakfast in light of this life extending nectar. There was a slight amount of grumbling that I was taking too long to get ready.

 We all exited the house and moved toward the intended target.  Sarah and I blocked off the escape routes and Annmarie had to walk out into the wheat field to get behind momma and baby. The momma had taken her baby down the long narrow driveway. Annmarie was unable to push the momma. The baby just wanted to lay down and rest. So we sent Sarah off to get the pickup. This seemed like a reasonable option as Sarah was the closet one to the pickup. She drove the pickup up to the start of the driveway and just stopped.  I had to walk down and ask her to turn it around so we could back down the driveway.  She then proceeded to tell me the driver side window was broken and would not roll down.  She then backed the pickup up toward the pair with me sitting on the tailgate. The goal is to push the momma away just long enough for me to snatch the baby then hold it as bait to get her to follow us to the barn lot. You have to back up right next to the calf and it only works in the first couple of days after birth, otherwise the calf runs off. I snagged the calf without getting horned as overprotectiveness is a problem in this breed.  The whole bait thing did not work. The baby would not make a single peep and Sarah kept letting the momma cow get in front of the pickup so she could not see her baby.  Eventually, Annmarie drove the pickup, after rolling down both windows so she could holler at me.
We finally just took the calf up to the corral and put her into the back pen. It is a little girl and since it is the bulls granddaughter we will not be keeping her.  She will be food for someone in 18 months.  We opened up the barn lot, tossed out some feed and herded the cows into the front barn lot. Once everyone was in the pen a bunch of them spooked and ran out.  We only had two left and one was the momma we wanted.  I used the double gate and ran them into the side corral pen. The one who is due any day was crazy and tearing around the pen. Sarah let her out when she rushed the gate with some encouragement. She didn't like the cow being crazy. Annmarie put the baby in with her and I tossed in some straw for bedding. We hung two hay feeders off the fence and put in six gallons of water and some grain. All this is in hopes that the mother will bond with the baby and we can turn them loose in a week. 

We did a google search and realized it is possible for our single momma cow to drink 20-30 gallons of water a day.  There is no water in the corral so we had to go to town and get some supplies.  We purchased a 40 gallon water trough and a protein block.  While we were there we purchased a small welded wire roll 6 feet high so I can dog proof the new front wooden fence. 

We heard the baby latching on and drinking when we returned.  Our new plan is to put the new momma and baby in with the horses and sheep after we are sure a good bond is present.  We want the bull to breed all the heifers at once.  The two cows that are early are both our yearlings from last year that the bull broke through the fence and got to a couple of months early.  So we would need to keep them separate for the next three months.  This might prove difficult.

New momma and baby area in the corral.


The bull knows she is no longer pregnant, what a guy!