Welcome to our ranch near Canada's west coast in Beautiful British Columbia's West Chilcotin mountain region. Where calling the vet means hollering back at the house to bring your kit, new friendships are formed from the back of a horse and true fun for a five year old is getting a machete for Christmas. Where 'cutting the dinks off' has a totally different meaning than what first comes to mind, Muck Boots are a household name, a hand shake still means something and the coffee is always on.

Monday 9 March 2015

Night Checks

Checking cows by the light of the moon.  

Yeah, it was a bit dark, so I added some flash.  The cows don't mind, they are used to us shining flashlights at all hours.  

We are fully busy now.  Yesterday I tagged 22 new calves.  Yay....bring it on!  The more the merrier, especially when the weather is so amazingly warm.  

The other night I stumbled out to do my usual 2 am check.  As soon as I got to the corrals I could hear that it was going to be a long night.  When a cow first calves, she bawls very softly to her baby as she licks it off, encouraging it to get up and have it's first drink.  I walked first in to the heifer pen and there was a wee little fella, just born and wondering what the heck hit him.  I decided to give his momma some time to clean him off and get used to the idea of being a mother.  In the cow pen, the same lowing noise told me that I had another slimy calf to deal with.  Turns out there was one momma and two babies again......the fourth set of twins.  
Dad has invented an amazing sleigh for getting calves in.  It pulls behind the quad and has large frame with a piece of felting across it.  The felting has four hole for four legs, which keeps the calf secure and off the ground.  The height is perfect for momma to sniff her baby and hopefully follow it right out of the pen.  
So as many of you know, I've never been blessed with height.  Picking up wet calves out of the mud (why not the dry shavings pile I ask....really!?) means I have to get completely involved.  I don't have the strength or the height to pick them up by the front legs and swing them on to the sleigh as the guys do.  I have to get right down and dirty with them, scooping and squeezing their slimy little bodies against my own as best I can and flinging both of us on to the sleigh.  Generally it works, but it is never pretty.  So I piled both the wee fellas on the sleigh and, with some convincing, momma cow followed along behind to a dry barn stall.
So back out I go and find that my heifer momma was frantically chasing her very busy little guy as he staggered from cow to cow in the pen, desperately trying to find himself some breakfast.  Calves will often follow your pressure, so I let him bump against my legs for a moment and then slowly walked back to the barn, with him frantically bumping me with his head and his confused mother following.  Yay, that was easy.  
Another check of the pens revealed two more mothers ready to have their babies and by the time I had them out and situated, Eli had come out to do his 4am round.  Which was perfect as he helped me with the twins....getting the more rambunctious one started nursing on his momma and an unwilling milk donor in to fill up the other one who needed some time in the hot box.  We staggered back to bed at 5am.  
And were woke at 5:30 by an extremely excited Ben, who had discovered that the TOOTH FAIRY had arrived during the night!  :)  True excitement to have that first tooth out.   

Well, back to the barns for me.....

Cheers all,

This is one of the other twins getting a bit of extra.    


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