Once calving season is done, our sights quickly move on to the next step...
Re-breeding the cows.
We have struggled for several years to get everyone back on a Spring calving rotation. We prefer to have our calves born in March and April, but are O.K. if calving gets pushed into May. Sometimes we have June and July babies, which isn't ideal, but we won't complain.
Some people prefer fall calves. We do not prefer fall calves, but Rain was a fall calf and that worked out pretty well for us.
Sometimes timing calves is easier said than done. In a perfect world, you would pick a time, stick the bull in the field with the cows and everyone would get bred right away.
However, in the real world, things don't always go that easily. For one, we can't bread our bull to all of our cows (like his mom and sister). That means that we have to A. I. those cows. We also choose to A. I. some of our cows to be able to bring different genetics into our herd.
Artificially inseminating cows is a whole other, sometimes complicated, process. You have to be right on with your timing for them to settle. Sometimes it goes like clockwork and other times...not so much.
If you miss a natural heat with the bull, or if your timing is off with artificially inseminating, you just have to try again. That means waiting another 21 days. Your perfect schedule can sometimes lead to a not so perfect calving schedule.
However, around here, we are always happy with a live, healthy baby no matter what time of year they are born.
Obviously, we are trying to have calves in early Spring so that our show cows are at peak maturity and performance for our major shows. But, a good cow can always trump a more mature cow in the show ring.
So how do you know when that calf will be born?
A simple gestation table will give you all the info you need.
So how do you read a gestation table?
It is much more simple than it looks.
First, find the date that you think your cow was bred. You do this by going to the line that says "bred" and then the month that she was bred.
Follow that line until you get to the day that the cow was bred.
Now, look at the line directly below to see the due date.
You will notice the line below is labeled "due", and then has two months indicated. The first half of the line is for the first month and the second have of the line is for the second month.
Let's look at an example.
You were out checking the cows one night and you see that your cow is in heat and the bull is paying really close attention to her. It is June 12th.
Find the line that says "Bred, June" and then follow that line to the number 12.
Look at the line directly below it.
It shows the number 23.
If you look at the beginning of that line, it says "Due, March/April".
This means that your cow will be due on March 23rd.
Now, the important part...
Mark it on the calendar...Now!!!
We always think we have plenty of time, and before we know it a cow is due.
Click below to download a copy of the gestation chart.
Calving season is always our favorite time of year. However, a good calving season starts with a good breeding season.
Start planning now to have a successful, organized, stress-free calving season...
And then hope for the best...because we all know that things rarely go as planned.
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Hello! I am Heather... the city girl turned mom to manure loving country boys. My husband and I both grew up in the city, but spent weekends visiting grandparents in the country. We are first generation farmers who learn best by almost always doing things the hard way. I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures down on the farm.