Calving time

Its finally that time of year for us! We have had so many concerns over the last few weeks ” Did you make it through the blizzards?” And by no genius of our own, we did. We had no calves on the ground and the only struggle was the equipment to feed them daily. Yesterday we dropped about 4 calves and they are even early by our standards. Our true due date is May 15th but we were expecting them around the 5th. Its good for my soul to see these healthy babies born all on their own, in their own corner of the pasture, in nice 50 degree weather. I’ve also had a lot of questions about how our calf processing looks- here’s how we work them.

  1. Birth Weight – we get an accurate birth weight within 24 hours of calving. When Sean’s doing it he using the real deal scale….But when Kat weighs-it’s with the hoof tape. We have tested them against each other and both are right in line with each other so we are confident either way
  2. Calving Ease – If we have to assist in any way we make a mark in the book and if its a bull- he wont go to the sale. We haven’t had to assist one in years so this feels redundant in the notes but we know the value of this score.
  3. Udder Score – We score every udder from 1 to 5 – 5 being the best. We like to score these right after calving because that’s when the issues are most obvious. We are looking for things like uneven teats, balanced quarters, and muscling that holds the bag together. Age of the cow plays a factor as well.
  4. Dam Body Condition Score- Scale of 1 to 10- This is a very important score for us as we do rough the cows on dry forage throughout the winter and if she slips in body score she just might not be made for our program. BCS tells us what type of flesh she is in and how much fat she carried through the winter and her pregnancy. We are cognizant of what type of winter we had and quality of our forage when we judge this.
  5. Dam Maternal Score – Here’s a confusing one for me πŸ™‚ This score is from 1 to 5. We are looking for a score of 3 here. A 5 would be overly protective, maybe running to the opposite side of the pasture from us during tagging. Worse than that would be a 1, she would be under protective- This will never do in our herd. Walking away from her calf, forgetting where she left it, generally unattending. A 3 is a nice mama who lets us walk up and grab a leg, talks to you a little when your tagging her calf, she’s there the whole time but not inside the truck with us.
  6. Dam Disposition Score- Scale of 1 to 5. Disposition score goes along with the last one but is more of an all year around attitude score. Of course if shes a bugger to work with tagging her calf we make that adjustment to her score, but we understand that can be due to hormones and all the excitement of a newborn so we like to consider her the rest of the year as well.
  7. Calf Vigor- Scale of 1 to 5. With a 5 being fast! We usually have a score of 5 here- which is why we wake up at 5 am to go tag calves πŸ™‚ they move a little slower when they are sleepy!

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