Calving Season 2013

Calving Season 2013

And Just Like That, The Calves are Off!

March 28, 2014

Well, the 2013 calf crop has been sold and the calves are off to the next stage of their life somewhere near Exeter, CA.

imageI have to say, sitting in that sale barn watching our calves run through the ring pulls a bit on the heart strings.  Proud would be the most prominent emotion.  I think we produced a heck of a product this year considering the drought.  Our calves looked good and gained more weight than we really expected.  There was also also a hint of sadness yesterday.  It’s kinda hard to say goodbye to something my family has worked so hard to produce.  And then of course there was the nervousness!  As the auctioneer called out “these are those quality Robinson calves” and the bidding started it was all I could do to keep my heart from racing right out of my chest! And this isn’t my first trip to the sale barn, I promise.  When your fate lies in the hands of whomever showed up to buy that day, it can be a tad stressful. It’s probably only me though because my mom looked pretty cool and collected. Luckily this year there were record cattle prices so that will relieve a bit of the hit we took buying additional hay this winter.

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Calving Season 2013, Meet Your Beef

Update! It worked!

September 25, 2013

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Hey guys, guess what?! Momma cow and graft calf love each other and are doing great (insert goofy celebratory dance here)! On Saturday I was at the ranch to grab my horse and go help a friend. When I brought the horse back, this mother cow was making typical protective noises cows make when they have a calf and you could tell the calf had nursed on her own (she had dried milk slobbers on her nose). My mom moved them to a bigger pen since they didn’t need any more assistance and they are off and running. Within a day or two this new pair will go back out into the pasture with the rest of the pairs. Phew!

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Calving Season 2013, Meet Your Beef

Wasn’t broke but needed fixin’

September 9, 2013
Cuteness overload!

Cuteness overload!

Can we talk about how cute this calf is?  Just for a second though because we’ve got to get down to business here.  But first, make sure you notice she’s got white eyelashes!

Besides her eyelashes, you may also notice some duct tape around the lower half of her front leg.  Let’s discuss that.  This little heifer was born with what you call “contracted tendons”.  The result of this is the calf being unable to properly extend its leg(s).

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Calving Season 2013, Meet Your Beef

Turning a Negative into a Positive

September 4, 2013

It’s been an interesting Labor Day weekend on the .7 (dot seven) Ranch.  Let’s just say the title of this holiday is quite fitting!  While my brother and I we’re celebrating my birthday a littler early in the mountains, my mom was checking all the cows.  Saturday we had a set of twins.  One heifer and one bull calf, both healthy.  Twin calves are often a bit of a predicament.  Because our cattle are pretty close to the corrals, we bring the twins and their mother in so we can make sure that the calves are nursing and getting along just as they should.  So that is just what my mom did.  Sidenote: Generally a cow has a hard time raising twins.  Sometimes she may not even accept the second calf.  It takes a heck of a cow to raise a set of twins, one that is in great condition and has a really good udder.  For this reason twins are not the optimal situation.  Twin calves that are left on their mother tend to be quite a bit smaller than average.  Since raising these animals is how we make a living, we want one mother cow to one calf so she can raise one big stout calf instead of two mediocre calves.

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Calving Season 2013, Meet Your Beef

Calving Season 2013

August 27, 2013

Well, it’s here!  The best time of year (besides maybe payday and my personal favorite, Christmas).

Calving season means a lot of things for us on the .7 ranch.  It means having all hands on deck 24/7 watching the cows by checking on them multiple times a day.  It means new life and sometimes harsh realities of life but it also means the beginnings to a paycheck.

This last Sunday my mom had spent the morning checking all the cows and bringing up the first calf heifers* who were getting close to calving.  She had let my brother and I know that there was a heifer that she thought was starting to calve and to check on her first thing when we arrived.  When I got there that afternoon, said heifer was certainly in labor. A crick in her tail and some mucus coming out her back end.  About 10 minutes later there were three of us there watching her every move.  Below are the chain of events in pictures.  I apologize for the vulgarity of the first picture but I warned ya it was my intention to show exactly how this ranching thing works 🙂

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*Clarification: first calf heifers are the females who have yet to have a calf. We pull them out of the herd (always with a buddy) and put them close to the barn so we can monitor them more closely in case there are any complications.  Because these animals are rookies to being a mother we take extra precautions to ensure live and healthy calves.