Sustainable Living > Farm Livestock

Cows, calves, negative temps

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Grandma Bear:
Me, SIL, pregnant DD, and the grandboys (well bundled and worn under our coveralls) had to search for over 2 hours today for one of our cows who just loves to pick the coldest day of the year to calve...and she flat out refuses to have her babies anywhere near the rest of the herd or the barn. We finally found her with a beautiful fat heifer trying to get up and nurse, and coaxed them both up to the loafing barn that isn't normally used this time of year. We are pretty sure momma will keep the baby warm, but were starting to worry about the coyotes...thankfully our faithful coyote stomping donkey decided to stay at the loafing barn too. Now the challenge is toting water that far for the cow several times a day until it's warm enough to move them to the barn they belong in! We've been trying to calculate freeze times for 5 gallon buckets at 3 degrees since that will be the average. I have decided that I hate math  :'(

Wandering Man:
That's a lot of water hauling.  You might be better off figuring out how long you can haul a 5 gallon bucket of water before you get frostbite.

I have one vague memory of walking my grandfather's farm when I was around 5 or 6, looking for a cow that had calved in a snowstorm, away from the barn.  I wasn't sure if I was remembering it right.  I though cows calved in the Spring.

Thanks for the memory jog.

Bakersdozen:
I can remember waking up on several winter mornings to find a calf in the kitchen.  One calf had lost part of her hoof and she turned out to be a great mother later.

I would determine how much water is necessary too.  Don't carry more than you need to only to have to dump out a chunk of ice.

Grandma Bear:
We ended up only having to fill one mineral tub with water, and hauling her range cubes and hay once. She came back down the fence line today along with the prettiest little February heifer we've had yet. Thank the Lord I don't have to worry so much about the watering now...there's not a really good way to hike that and DD had to take the truck to work today.

Grandma Bear:
Well, ya win some and ya lose some I reckon. We noticed one of the cows had wandered off again and all went looking again. SIL put DD in the side by side and they found the momma with her dead calf. Not wanting to leave the calf to attract coyotes they wanted to move it so SIL tried to pick it up and put it on the back of the side by side when momma charged the side by side, hooked it with a horn and proceeded to try to flip it over with my pregnant DD sitting in it. Thankfully my DD ain't no sissy pregnant or no and pushed the calf off the back of the thing and started chucking her boots at the momma to back her down...my kid has some amazing aim when need be. After all of us getting back to the house and warming up the babies I had with me I was super happy they found momma and not me with 2 tiny boys strapped one on front and one on back.

The herd is a Brahma/Hereford cross, beautiful tiger striped cows who are excellent foragers and rarely need help calving,  but their temperament isn't the most gentle in the world. 

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