Calf due any minute

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Haggis, Dec 29, 2004.

  1. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    My coming 8 year old Jersey is about to freshen any day with her sixth calf. I was sure hoping for this week during the warm spell; it reached –40 some places here about last week.

    Her udder is full and her ampersand is swollen something fierce. Herself, and kids, and the Grand-Darlings like to watch the calf to be kick at the cow’s belly, a belly seemly dragging the ground.

    There’s only another day or 2 window in the weather and then we head into the yearly Northern Minnesota two month, deep freeze. A fellow stopped in last week to show me a calf that had been born on straw, in a closed barn, licked fluffy dry, and froze hard as flint before morning.
     
  2. bettie

    bettie Member

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    Hi, I am waiting for my cow to have her calf also.I don't think she is in any hurry,but I am ready to pull my hair out!
     

  3. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Our second calf five year old, Mistie, (very frustrating as she milked for almost two years straight her first lactation) finally calved about 3 days overdue this morning with a beautiful Jersey bull calf. All dad had to see was how pretty it was to know it was a bull. *sigh*
    Also had a set of twin buckling kids born this morning to Liliana. :rolleyes: Busy day full of males...

    We generally don't lose calves if they are born in the barn during wintertime. A year ago on the 26th I went out to bring in Amity who due the first of Jan and she had already calved. never did find out what the calf was because when I found it the animals had already gotten to it and the telltale indictor(s) was gone. :no:
    Guess I can't complain about Ohio weather too much. It is cold but Minnesota is definitely worse.....though being up on a hilltop we get some pretty cold wind and the snow loves to drift...lol

    Here is hoping she calves before the cold and you get a heifer.
    Hope you cow calves soon as well Bettie.

    We do not have anymore due until Jan 21 (my cow and a first calf heifer) and then two more on the 26th.

    However, I will be pacing the floors pulling out my hair with the four remaining does to kid in the next two weeks. :haha:
     
  4. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Hi to all of you,
    May I ask a silly question? :eek: I calve twice a year - spring and autumn. We have a very mild climate in comparison to you but even then can find it hard work getting my autumn calvers through the winter. And yet here you are calving in what must be virtually the middle of your winter with snow, little feed and a high risk of losing the calf - and kids.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not castigating, I'm just interested. Farming over there is so much different to what it is here.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  5. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We don't like having a lot of animals, especially first calf heifers in the barn during wintertime because it is so much more work to keep them fed, clean and milked....but some of our animals just end up calving at that point. My cow, Adeleine is five years old. She calved the first time in August I believe. The next time was January 25th a year later with a dead bull calf, last year she calved on January 25th again with a bull calf and she is due January 26th this coming year. She is the last of my line so we breed her back quick in the hopes of getting a heifer before she dies.
    Our heifers took a while to start coming in but they are doing wonderfully. Our only issue is we can fit 23 (we have 21 right now) cows in our barn....27 if we take out the space for a maternity pen and the space for the goats. This means we are trying to find space right now for the four coming in in a month. Animals will be dried up long before they are due to go dry but these are generally cows that have been milking past their 305.
    However, since we calve out all year round we constantly are having new fresheners coming in and taking up the slack on the cows going dry. So we have a fairly consistent average production. However, we would prefer the majority calve in mid summer (pretty sure it is summer) when prices are higher.
    Oh yes and we keep our milking cows in the barn during the middle of wintertime, so they keep the barn fairly toasty (a whole 40 degrees F) and keep the pipes from freezing and breaking so badly.

    The thing about the goats is the ones we have are seasonal breeders. They started cycling in September and they generally cycle as late as March but that is pushing it. They have a five month gestation and so December isn't uncommon. Trust me, I do not like them kidding in the middle of winter. Three years ago we lost five of the seventeen kids born because they froze. Now we try and make space in the barn and bring them in for kidding time. We were trying to keep the bucks seperated until mid October to give us late March babies which is perfect timing....but our bucks had other ideas. :p
    Interestingly enough most people find that the kids born int he winter thrive better than the ones born in early spring..and since most breed their does the next fall the earlier they are born the older they are when first bred.

    Probably more than you were looking for, huh? Of course we are a commercial dairy ..I think commercial would be the right phrase.
     
  6. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

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    Hi, Ronnie,
    We milked until 2003 so, my information is outdated.

    Here in the Midwest we freshened cows year round. They tended to group themselves into early spring and early fall, though. (I think the hot humid summers affected conceptions during that time of year)

    The cows often gave birth in a box stall in a lean-to in the barn, then moved them into a pen in the warmest part of the barn -- the lowest level of what we call a bank barn. There is an earthen hill leading up to the front of the upper level but the cow stable was all in the lower level.

    It does not get as cold here as it does in Minnesota! We did have some wool blankets to put over the new borns if needed. But definitely moved them.

    The most important thing was to get them in somewhere dry and draft-free. We need ventilation, but not drafts. It's a balancing act in some of the old barns.

    I *think* Haggis is in a different situation because I think he wants to leave the cow and calf together? We raised them on bottles and put the dams in the milking string.

    Happy New Year!
    ann
     
  7. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Ronney, feed usually isn't a problem in our cold climates and most of us are set up for our circumstances. I'm up in Alberta and it can get mighty cold in the winter and we see a lot of January/February calving but it has to be done right and it is a lot of work. I've had the odd calf at this time of year and they do survive but there are pitfalls. We prefer to calve later on grass but even that has drawbacks because of those late storms. I don't personally feel that you get much extra growth or development with early calving in our climate and tend to think that it takes everything those little guys have to just stay warm but that's just my personal observation and opinion.
     
  8. Jim in MO

    Jim in MO Well-Known Member

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    Hey Haggis how's your girl doing?

    I've always had the best luck with early fall calves but this year our Jersey is due late March.

    Jim in MO
     
  9. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    No news yet.

    I bought this Jersey as bred and due January 7 from a fellow in south Central Wisconsin. He has a "banK" barn that never gets below 40 degrees in the coldest winter. He brings his cows in to calve and then after a few days separates them.

    Accordng to the vet, my next calves won't be due until April and June.

    I intend to separate the cow and calf to get her back on a twice daily milking routine. After 3 or 4 days, I'll feed the calf on a bottle near its dame and while she is being milked. I figure that I can put a heat lamp near the calf for a few days and keep it in the milk room, out of the drafts and wind.

    My barn is open to the South and sits in the middle of the windiest field east of Kitty Hawk.
     
  10. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

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    Dairy trivia ... all this talk about barns and freshening in the winter got me to thinking ... when FIL was a boy and they put in the milking stable, the cows faced in, facing a double row of mangers with an aisle down the middle. To make it easier to feed in the winter. Because they brought the cows in and tied them there ALL WINTER. :eek: FIL said by spring they could hardly walk. They might have had them spaced out more than we did, using it only as a milking area. But ... wow. I guess it's the same idea as tie stalls but still ...

    Good luck with the fresh cow, Haggis! Hope it's a heifer!

    Ann
     
  11. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Our cows face away from each other with a backwalk down the middle. They are kept in for most of the winter in their stanchions. Boy, you should see those old cows prance down the back walk when they are allowed out for the first time in weeks.. :haha:
    We don't like a full barn in the winter because it is harder for them to lay down and get up. Our platforms are five feet long and a good thing too. Our cows are a lot bigger than when it was built and they told my grandfather he was crazy for making them so big.
    I don't think our cows have ever stayed in the barn for more than four weeks at a time...and that is pushing it. We let them out when we are able to but are very careful because it is hilly adn ice and hills don't mix well for cows.
     
  12. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

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    FIL was the most interested in the cows when he was younger, and most innovative ( um, to a point :haha:) so they changed how they housed the cows. They added on ... loose housing to the south, a lean-to to the east, made a concrete cow lot with wind breaks on the north side. I think the cows were more comfortable that way.

    I agree cows have gotten bigger. The stanchions were not centered in the cow stable (I have no idea why!) but one side was narrower than the other. So there was a heifer side and a cow side. The difference was especially noticeable once switching between Guernseys and Holsteins.

    It was a very modern barn in about 1950. DH and FIL added on when DH graduated from high school -- added a couple more stanchions. I guess they got a pipeline in the 1970s.

    When we got self-lockign stanchions, DH's Grandpa said it made farming just too easy!

    Happy New Year!
    Ann
     
  13. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We were figuring on a free stall type area for the lowetr produing animals and the cows going dry. We need some cows in the barn to keep the pipes from freezing and they tend to do fairly well production wise.

    Heh, we still don't have pipelines. We have a stanchion barn and the bucket system. The inspector is always impressed with how clean our equipment is...but boy does he dislike our stanchion barn! Keeps hoping we will close down. :rolleyes:
    One side of our barn has larger stalls for the cows...there are 12 stalls on one side and 11 on the other. The end stalls are also larger and where the older cows end up.
    I'm sure it all made sense when they were being built... :)

    A happy new year to you as well!
     
  14. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    Yesterday mornig when I went out to milk I looked at my soon to calve cow. I thought she had dropped her calf; she apeared so thin. I even spent a bit of time scanning around the paddock for the calf. This morning she still looks thinner but on close scrutiny I could see some calf movement.

    I'm hoping the little "heifer" is just lining herself up for the final push.
     
  15. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Certainly sounds like it! How are the tendons doing?
     
  16. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    Her tail is sunk in, I haven't seen anything as swollen as her ampersand since the Army, she is fidgety, but still taking her feed with gusto.

    I'm a nervous wreck and I don't think she feels any sympathy for me at all.
     
  17. JanO

    JanO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    :haha: You can bet that sympathy for you is the last thing she's feeling. Sounds like she's getting closer. You just might have a new "hiefer" today, or tomorrow.

    Keep us posted.
    Jan
     
  18. Shagbarkmtcatle

    Shagbarkmtcatle Hillybilly cattle slaves

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    Hey Haggis, we got your calf. She was born at 10:30 am this morning. Nice little Angus heifer. Her name is Happy. It is over 60 degrees today. It was a nice way to start off the new year. How is yours doing?

    Laura Lynn
     
  19. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    My eldest daughterr tells me that a cows ampersand will change color just before she has her calf, and a color change has taken place. She seems to be pushing a bit but her water has not broken.

    Congrats on the new heifer; may she live to have a dozen more just like her, and you be there to see them all reach old age.

    It's 21 here without the wind chill and there is a blizzard in progress.
     
  20. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Good Lord Haggis, you can keep your winters. Just about the coldest we get where we are is 40 and I think I'm doing it hard :haha: Any sign of that calf yet?

    Thank you to all who replied to my question. Although I know that the States, Europe and the UK barn their stock during the winter, I don't think that I had thought through that calving in some cases has to carry on 12 months of the year, and that in some part of the States spring temperatures are still lower than our winter temperatures. I enjoy reading your posts but wish I could actually see the buildings and farms that you have as sometimes I have no idea what your talking about.

    Comparative to us, you must have huge capital expenditure, on going winter feed costs and your farming must also be much more labour intensive than ours.

    Roseanne, no it wasn't more than I was looking for and I didn't realise you were dairying commercially. I take it your 365 days of the year?

    Happy New Year to all of you and I really enjoy this site.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie