Greetings from Minnesota. It’s warm, dry, and windy, but temps are said to be cooling soon. No kidding, we’re expecting mid-30’s by Wednesday.
We’ve been moving calves around a lot lately, and these gals were pretty happy in their new pen the other night!
As I was thinking about this post, I thought I would try and explain to you how we decide when to move calves and what the process is.
Then I got an idea. I realized there are a lot of steps in the life of a baby calf. It may be fun, and helpful, if I select a specific that we can all “follow” here on my blog.
We’d start at birth, and if all goes well we could follow the calf for many years as she grows up into a milk cow and has babies of her own. Cool? Not cool?
More on that in a bit.
I suppose I should still tell you about moving calves.
They start in hutches at birth and at about 8 weeks we move them into small groups of 4-6 calves.
Lately we have been weaning calves off milk and moving them by 7 weeks because of space constraints and warm weather. In colder weather we may not move them until 9 or 10 weeks because they need to be on milk longer, and we also need to pick winter days with more mild temps if possible.
If calves do well in the small group they’ll get moved to larger groups as space allows and as we move out bigger animals.
If they don’t adjust well to the small group (for example they hang back at the feed bunk, are shy with the other calves and don’t grow as well as they should) then we’ll keep them back with another small group so they can catch-up.
Sometimes an animal that doesn’t do as well may be getting sick and need treatment, but other times they are just timid and do fine once they are grouped with a few younger animals.
Cows are social creatures, and it’s interesting to watch them interact with their “peers” as they grow. 🙂
So back to this calf we could follow.
I envision I would select a baby and then provide written and photographic updates about the goings on in her life. Perhaps weekly updates at first because calves grow so quickly, and then certainly updates on major events like moves, vaccinations and the like.
Early in my blog, if you go back to last fall, I explained a lot of detail about the feeding and care of baby calves (which you should check out if you haven’t!).
But this idea could be a new and fresh way to re-explain many of these things all through the eyes of one calf.
Would you guys find this interesting? Is there a better way to do it than I’ve described?
How do I pick the calf??
Do you have a special day this fall that you’d like me to pick a newborn calf on? (yes, we nearly always have babies born everyday.) Or, maybe you’d like me to pick the first white-speckled calf or red calf?
Give me your feedback, and I’ll do my best to oblige!