Calving season is in full force at Eden Shale. This year we have 107 head to calve, the most we have had since we took the farm over in 2013.
The heifers started calving on February 15th and the cows started calving on February 26th. As of writing (March 7th) we have had 54 calves born in the first 21 days of the calving season. And as an additional bonus, March came in like a lamb this year. We had 5 consecutive days of temperatures in the 60’s with no rainfall. During these first 5 days of March we had 29 calves born! I still believe the best investment a commercial cow/calf operation can make is to synchronize the cow herd at breeding. Having half the calf crop born in the first heat cycle plays a huge role in the consistency of those calves at weaning.
While calving is in full swing we are also managing the cattle through three different calving fields. To explain further, all our cows and heifers are rotated away from the herd as they calve. We have two separate barns for calving. The one by Greg’s house is for heifers, and the main working facility is for cows. For each group, the heavy bred animals are placed in a pasture (pasture A) with access to hay feeding structures. As the animals get close to calving, they are moved inside the barn. Once a calf is born, we give the pair one or two days in the barn to allow it time to gain strength on dry bedding and to ensure there aren’t any problems with baby or mama. After tagging the calves, we turn the new pairs out to a fresh field (pasture B) that provides a clean, mud free field with ample room for the babies to lie down in dry locations. The young pairs stay in pasture B for 7 to 10 days. We nicknamed Pasture B the nursery. After the calves gain strength, we move them from pasture B to pasture C for the remainder of the calving season.
As winter draws to an end, I hope that your calving season is going well, and that your hay reserves are enough. And as we flip the calendar over we are reminded that green grass is right around the corner.