It is always exciting to wean another group of calves! This was one our best years yet and it feels so rewarding to see all of our hard work pay off. Each fall we wean and preg check the cows. The vet comes out and we also precondition the calves for colder weather. I wrote a blog post on Picking Wild Flowers a few years ago. Check it out here https://pickingwildflowers.org/2016/09/19/why-do-farmers-precondition/.
This year looked a little different for me! Usually I am helping with herding calves, catching the head gate, putting the bar behind the calves, etc. But at 38 weeks pregnant, I claimed the role as note taker this year! Big or small, all jobs are important.
It takes all hands on deck to wean and preg check the cows! First we separate the calves from their moms. Weaning takes place when the calves are old enough to begin eating grain and no longer rely on their mothers milk. The calves go through the chute first. Our system has been updated over the years but the core of our working chute system is 50+ years old!
The vet gives the calves a preventative vaccination in preparation for winter. Just like people, calves are more prone to illness in cold and wet climates. We also pour the calves with an insecticide to prevent lice and mange and lastly we implant the calves. Implants provide the calves with a dose of hormones to help boost their rate of gain. This increases the efficiency of feed consumption. Less feed=less carbon footprint.
The cows also take a trip through the working chute! Each cow is poured and preg checked. The vet performs a rectal palpation (check by hand) to determine how far along the cow is in her pregnancy. Just like people, cows are pregnant for nine months. This knowledge helps farmers provide better individual care for each cow.
Speaking of pregnancy... Remember earlier in the blog post where I mentioned that I was working cattle at 38 weeks pregnant? Baby Hibbs made his presence just three days later on 11-10-20. I introduce you to Dean Riggan Hibbs! Tyler and I are head over heels!
We are all doing well! Dean was born weighing 8 lbs, 8 oz and 20.5 inches long. He loves to cuddle with his mom and dad. We couldn't be more proud of our little Riggs!