Calving season is upon us...

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Jeanne - Simme Valley
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Re: Calving season is upon us...

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:34 am

Hopefully, you get to take a nap here & there.
Most of us are careful what sire we breed to specific animals for ease of calving. So, no, we "shouldn't" need to babysit them. BUT, abnormal presentations can kill calves and kill cows. Not a risk I'm willing to take. Good job saving those babies.
I started watching cameras last night.
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Re: Calving season is upon us...

Postby NEFarmwife » Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:48 am

Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:Hopefully, you get to take a nap here & there.
Most of us are careful what sire we breed to specific animals for ease of calving. So, no, we "shouldn't" need to babysit them. BUT, abnormal presentations can kill calves and kill cows. Not a risk I'm willing to take. Good job saving those babies.
I started watching cameras last night.


Agreed. That 92# calf was a total fluke. We wouldn’t want that size calf coming out of anything, let alone a heifer. I’m sure the cows could handle it but bigger calves can cause a lot of problems. I remember when my father in law dabbled in club calves and my husband was always pulling them.

When we start the surge of cows, we won’t babysit the maternity ward as often. I was up every two hours watching cameras last night so my husband could get some rest. We didn’t have a single one over night which was strange but welcomed. It is freezing. I believe I heard -20 overnight.

The others don’t really check cameras as often as I do but I find it hard to turn away. I told my husband it’s more exciting than reality tv.
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Re: Calving season is upon us...

Postby Redmike » Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:10 pm

Do u calve all in calving barn or just in bad weather ? Sure wish I had one calving a set of hefeirs now myself and really stressing over coming weather
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Re: Calving season is upon us...

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:20 pm

I live in Upstate NY. Our temperature has not been above +7F for more that a week and don't expect a let up for another week (except today got to +15 - wahoo, heatwave).
I calve from 1-1 to 3-5. So, yes, other than a "screw-up", they all calve in the barn. I pick & choose which cows/heifers "appear" to be ready, and they go in the barn at night & put out in the morning if they did not calve. When one calves, the pair stays in a pen for about 24-36 hours, then outdoors. Calves have a 3-sided shed they can get into for protection. NY cold is a lot different than a lot of other Northern states. We have very high humidity. And lots of wind.
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Re: Calving season is upon us...

Postby NEFarmwife » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:36 pm

Redmike wrote:Do u calve all in calving barn or just in bad weather ? Sure wish I had one calving a set of hefeirs now myself and really stressing over coming weather


Hope to calve in barn. We only shut them in at night though so if they calve during day, they’d calve in lot, unless we got them moved to a stall prior.

Next few nights are going to be frigid.
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Re: Calving season is upon us...

Postby NEFarmwife » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:40 pm

Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:I live in Upstate NY. Our temperature has not been above +7F for more that a week and don't expect a let up for another week (except today got to +15 - wahoo, heatwave).
I calve from 1-1 to 3-5. So, yes, other than a "screw-up", they all calve in the barn. I pick & choose which cows/heifers "appear" to be ready, and they go in the barn at night & put out in the morning if they did not calve. When one calves, the pair stays in a pen for about 24-36 hours, then outdoors. Calves have a 3-sided shed they can get into for protection. NY cold is a lot different than a lot of other Northern states. We have very high humidity. And lots of wind.


You pretty much do what we do. We like to pair them up for 2 days beforehand kicking them out. We also got hot wire around the calf sheds in our lots so the cows don’t dirty them up or squish calves.

And we only throw the ones we think are going to calve soon, in the barn at night. So while we may have another 30 ready to calve, only 15 look like they will be, so they get the shed.
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Re: Calving season is upon us...

Postby Redmike » Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:00 pm

Guessing you have separate pens for each one u put up? What's your cut off as far temps as far as in barn or not or u calve all in barn at night thanks
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Re: Calving season is upon us...

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Sun Dec 31, 2017 6:51 am

Yes, I have separate pens, but occasionally I have to put a few together. I don't care what the temp is, if they look ready, they go in the barn at night. I have cameras in the barns, but not outside. There have been many nights I'm looking out the window to see if there is a single cow isolated (easy to see on the snow LOL)
NE - I have the same thing with the sheds. The 1-strand hi-tensile fence is well away from the sheds, so the calves have a large area that the cows cannot trash out.
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In this picture you can see a small section of the fence in bottom right corner.
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Re: Calving season is upon us...

Postby angus9259 » Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:34 am

Bless you all for reminding me why I fall calve !!! :banana:
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Re: Calving season is upon us...

Postby NEFarmwife » Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:16 am

angus9259 wrote:Bless you all for reminding me why I fall calve !!! :banana:


We bought 50 fall bred cows/heifers this year and I don't know whether we'll continue. Hubby and I are thinking of using our fall breds as recips this breeding season. One thing we really didn't take into consideration was steering the calves. We had vultures pecking at these babies. Something we don't have a problem with in the winter. We have also never, ever had so much sickness as we have with the fall breds. Seems like all we do is continue to treat them. I am assuming it is because these cows haven't had the care and nutrition that we provide ours. So our first mistake may have been purchasing from an unknown source.

We also prefer to calve now vs spring for a number of reasons. Springs in Nebraska are very temperamental. We had a really bad ice storm in April when many of us had already been planting this past year. Also, we don't want to be calving when planting starts. We farm 5000 acres. Winter calving, you can commit to knowing you're breaking ice, that you're bedding down sheds and making windbreaks. The cold is demanding on the calves but you can help in insuring they're "warmer" with shelter and bedding. Spring brings such an influx of weather. Rain, mud, ice, snow, warm/cold, etc...(all in one day sometimes). Those extremes tend to make a calf a lot sicker, faster. When spring comes, these calves will be atleast 200lbs and able to defend against those elements a lot better. It's difficult to carry a calf uphill in 5 inches of mud. A dry calf is healthy calf. You can throw that one out the window, during the spring. The one down side is when we go to purchase a new bred cow, most are calving when we are finished so it immediately knocks them out of the game. Our cut off is March 1st. Anything that hadn't calved, goes to the sale barn.

Many may not agree or it may not be their cup of tea but the farms have been raising cows for 30 years (started as a dairy) and this is what works for them. I

Windchill is -28 this morning. Done breaking ice and bedding already. Quick walk through of the calves and they're the only ones without frost on them and out frolicking. Cows are cussing us.
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Re: Calving season is upon us...

Postby angus9259 » Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:37 am

NEFarmwife wrote:
angus9259 wrote:Bless you all for reminding me why I fall calve !!! :banana:




Spring brings such an influx of weather. Rain, mud, ice, snow, warm/cold, etc...(all in one day sometimes). Those extremes tend to make a calf a lot sicker, faster. When spring comes, these calves will be atleast 200lbs and able to defend against those elements a lot better. It's difficult to carry a calf uphill in 5 inches of mud. A dry calf is healthy calf. You can throw that one out the window, during the spring.



Yup - this is why I gave up spring calving too :).

But you're right. Having cows with calves on them in this weather is tough on the cow.
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Jeanne - Simme Valley
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Re: Calving season is upon us...

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:14 pm

NE - that is EXACTLY what got me calving this time of the year. Mud kills calves, rain when it's 30-40F kills calves - in my climate. By the time that nasty spring weather is here they are not only bigger, but they are smarter about getting into the shelter & avoiding the mud areas. Not many bugs are living outside right now. :banana:
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