Gifts come in all shapes and sizes!
Difficult decisions and an extra good cow. The vet preg tested Annabelle and said she was 6 months pregnant. The baby should arrive in mid-January. But it’s early December. Annabelle is already looking calvy. A Thanksgiving storm has just passed through dropping snow; nighttime temperatures are in the teens. The cows are grazing peacefully on the south-facing slope of a sagebrush-covered hill 1.5 miles from the ranch headquarters and their water tank. Clearly, it’s time for calving-watch, but where? What would you do? What are the considerations you would take into account?
A calf born on such a cold night could freeze as it is coming out of the cow, or at least shortly thereafter if the cow doesn’t jump up right away and start licking it and rolling it roughly around to get the blood circulating, get the calf on its feet and nursing. The placenta could even freeze over the calf’s nose, suffocating a healthy calf as it is being born.
Having the calf on the open range this time of year is risky. Even if the birth is successful, will a youngster be strong enough to survive the harsh Wyoming winter? These are typical of the questions you will be considering when you are here as we make the day-to-day ranching decisions.
The rest of Georgia’s story:
We are happy to report that Annabelle and baby Georgia are doing well! Georgia was born on the sagebrush flat, the ranchland being a cleaner birthing area than a corral or barn would have been. Georgia entered the world in the warmth of the strong Wyoming daytime sun and in no time was up nursing, running and jumping as her legs gained strength. Because Mama Annabelle is not a first-calf heifer, she had the calf easily and knew just what to do to help the newborn survive without any human intervention. That day and the next, Annabelle ate snow for water, having had a good long drink of water the evening before. On Georgia’s second day in the world, Annabelle started the 1.5-mile trek back to the water tank at the ranch headquarters with baby in tow. They arrived at 8:02 a.m. the next morning having stopped for a restful night on the way.
We are so proud of Mama and Baby! They are now in Corral #6 on hay and water waiting out the current cold spell. Georgia is running up and down the manure pile, teasing her mom. The manure pile generates warmth for their bed, but so far, they prefer sleeping near the feeder on a bed of loose hay.