Spring weather brings on calving memories

As many of you know and remember, it was never dull growing up on the farm. There was always something to do, whether it be repairs, preparing for seeding, collecting the eggs from chickens, feeding the cows, or helping pull calves. The spring weather reminds me of calving season around our farm. Usually by the end of March we’d be around one quarter finished with calving and there’d be bouncy happy calves all over the pasture.

Two things I remember vividly about calving season. First, An impending winter storm really brought on the calves for some reason and secondly, once it warmed up, the calves would be having races with each other. At feeding time, the calves were always so full of energy and usually four or five of them would start up the races with their tails up in the air, giving it all they got. It was hilarious to watch them. It was especially funny when their attention would shift from racing to tormenting the dog. Our dog always respected cows and their calves but you could see the disdain on her face once the calves wanted to play with the dog. She would have none of it! It was the only time she liked riding in the truck.

Once in a while a calf would become injured and it, along with its mother, would have to be separated from the herd so it could be nursed back to health. That was usually my job and after several days of care one would develop a trust and friendship with the calf and its mother. Sometimes a calf would have to be bottle fed until it learned the proper way of feeding from its mother. Just like humans, cows and calves sometimes need a little extra boost to get started.

Then there were the really cold days. The days when it would be about -30 or colder and a new calf is born. The elements were to severe for the calf to survive after birth which usually meant we had to load up the special calf sleigh and bring the calf into the house to warm up. More than once I’d come home from school and see a calf in the porch or in the kitchen warming up beside the oven before being put back out into the barn with its mother and nestled into the warm hay. It’s amazing the lengths farmers and ranchers will go to ensure they have healthy calves.

I wish all the farmers and ranchers great success in this year’s calving season. Thanks for everything you do.

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