Well, we have officially begun calving. You can tell because it is -20 at night. We are doing our every two hour night checks and making good use of the hot box (also known as the slow cooker). Pretty much everything that is born at night (and most certainly if it was born 'outside') gets a turn in it. This photo shows it in action with the latest set of twins (obviously there is a door to close).
So we've had over 50 calves now (3 sets of twins), and in general, everything has gone well. There has been some of the usual complications, but nothing really major. One kind of funny one was a set of twins out of another first calver. She had her first little baby perfectly but just didn't seem quite right yet so we brought her in to check her out. As always, you never quite know what you are going to find when you insert your hand in to that particular area of bovine real estate, but I have to admit I was quite confused to find one big lump. For a split second I thought there was a displaced hip bone or something....obviously impossible. Turns out that the teeny tiny twin was trying to be born ears first. Literally. Not only were both feet back, but his nose was pointed backwards as well. The lump I felt was the back of his head. He got pushed back inside, re-arranged, and then quite literally landed in my arms. Normally we slowly help them out, allowing their lungs to clear and to get their first breath. This wee fella needed no more encouragement than to be pointed in the right direction and straight out he came. We left this smaller twin on his momma and the bigger one is currently being raised by Black Velvet the Holstein milk cow with a very small brain. Oh, that was a bit mean wasn't it? Ha. You haven't met her. Or if you have, you know of what I speak. She is appreciated in many ways....but she still has the smallest brain of any animal we have ever owned. Including the chickens. (Sorry Olivia.....don't be mad. I know you love her, and yes, you can one day take her to your grandparents back yard in Victoria.) Before you judge my judgement, remind me to tell you a few stories about her....such as spending hours up to my waist in broken ice and creek water after she decided to walk past her water hole and sniff the snow on the other side of the creek.... and fall through of course. But, this is the time of year that Black Velvet shines....she will take on any calf (or calves) looking for a feed and only asks for gallons of grain, free choice of the best hay, dry shavings to lay on, plenty of leisure time to daintily slurp at the water trough and patience as she endless bawls her displeasure at being separated from her calf. Or her grain. Or her water trough. Or her hay bale. Or...
Black Velvet and her tiny adopted twin George.
In other news, we have all the horses in a pile and they are quite pleased to be free choicing on round bales.
Mum has rolled a bale out here while we get the strings off of the other ones. That is an old 'slide stacker' that you see to the left of the horses. I'll write about them another time.....it was how the ranchers used to pile their hay for the winter. There are two on this meadow and quite possibly some of the only ones left in the country.
Moving horses. This is probably the closest you will ever see to me posting a 'selfie'. :)
First drink, oh so good!
View from the barn. Mommas and their babies.
These cows are waiting to be put back with their babies after being out to feed for the morning.
Bet not everyone sees this sight when they head to their local store to buy bananas.
Alright, well I probably better get back to the calving barn. Please be a bit patient with me as my posts could be a bit random and far between for a while. I just discovered that I can set it up to have posts published on a scheduled date. Hmm, not sure I'm organized enough for that, but I'll see what I can do.
All the best,