For everyone who believes cows should only exist on pastures of green grass and far away from feedlots and barns, let me introduce you to our calving barn.
On a Saturday night – after enjoying dinner with fellow farming friends – the hubs and I stopped in to check on our heifers. These ladies are expecting their first calves any day now and spend their nights in our barn.
The floors are covered with straw – from our very own wheat fields – and it’s at least 20 degrees warmer inside. We have individual pens on one end that we can move a heifer in full labor into to guarantee she has the space she needs – and wants – to give birth. The remaining pregnant mothers spend the night in the barn, safe, warm and happy. And in the morning the doors open and the ladies return to the outside world.
We haven’t always used this set up for our expectant mothers, but first-time mothers (called heifers) require more time and attention. These ladies aren’t quite sure what they are doing and some just never quite get the hang of it all. That’s where having the heifers all in one confined location – comes in extremely handy. We can spot an issue, step in and hopefully provide assistance before it’s too late.
Indoor spaces and wide open pastures both have their place on a farm and farmers use both to ensure the health, safety an wellbeing of their animals.