Ah, spring turn out time. One of the most wonderful and stressful times of the year. Wonderful because it means that the cows are out, the calves have been branded, and they only need a little maintenance for the summer. Ok, we move them like every week, check water, and doctor as needed… its still a lot of work but it doesn’t seem like its so hard.
We probably are happy for it to be over because that means the stress of the spring turn out it gone too. Right now we are separating our cows into 3 different groups- some to be run on the BLM ground, some to be on the Forest ground (it really shouldn’t be considered Forest though, there are NO forests out here!) and some to other Forest ground. The stressful part about all of this is that when you start separating the herd, you have to make sure that you get all of the babies with the right mommas. Or that none of the momma’s forget that they have a calf (oh ya, it happens…).
The worst thing that can happen is the pairs not pairing up once they get to the new pasture. A baby without a momma isn’t going to survive. Sure they can steal milk every once in a while (funny thing about cows, they will only nurse their babies… but I roll like that too), but they aren’t going to get enough nutrition to grow. So we do ALL that we can to make sure this doesn’t happen.
But every year it seems that we have a few doggie calves. Do you want to know the best way to pick them out? They have poop on their head. All of the time. The best way to steal a bit of milk is to come from behind. The hazards of that are getting pooped on… poor huggers….
But back to our doggie calves. We just bring them home. Leaving them to die is like throwing money away. And its just not very nice. So we do what we can to make it work. Like have a milk cow or two around to nurse them. These cows are kinda funny, because they love to mother these babies! They stand by the barn waiting for feeding time. They sit by the gate and talk to them during the day (well, I don’t know if they really talk to them… I just think that sounds like what a momma would do). And no matter how many calves, they mother them all.
Its rough being a doggie-ed calf, but come on home. We’ve got a momma that will love on ya!