Our cows deliver their baby calves during the first three months of the year. No, the weather is not always ideal, but this is the time of year the farmer hubs and his dad don’t have to be on a tractor or combine and can devote their full attention to our mommas and new babies. We also calve during the early months so that the babies are old enough to make the trip east to the Flint Hills for the summer grazing season.
Not we reside in Central Kansas, which means we aren’t strangers to a good snow storm, but we sure aren’t as hearty as our northern friends who see a foot of snow as a light sprinkle – and might I add kuddos to them for enduring long, cold winters.
The weathermen are forecasting snow for our part of the state starting tonight, which means we need to be prepared for snow, rain or nothing at all. Our cows can endure cold temps. They’re made for it and do just fine when the mercury drops. It’s the wet stuff that causes problems. When their hides get wet and stay wet our animals have a more difficult time retaining their body heat. Additionally, our pastures and pens become more difficult for us and the animals to navigate.
Our most important responsibility during a storm – rain or snow – is making sure any new or fairly new calves are up, warm and doing well. Like their mothers, calves can endure cold weather as long as they remain dry and are getting plenty of milk. But if a calf is wet – either because its brand new and the mother hasn’t done a good job of getting it up and dried off – or because it spends all day lying in a puddle – then it’s up to us to find it a warm, dry place for it to rest.
And humans aren’t the only ones inclined to up the calories during the winter months. These ladies need all the calories and protein they can get – both to keep themselves warm and to also keep producing milk for their babies. So we make sure they have grass for grazing, mineral for those pesky cravings and a bunk full of high-quality, many grown right here on our own farm. We don’t count calories on Sawyer Land & Cattle.
It’s Sunday afternoon and we’ve done all we can do. The farmer hubs and my oldest made one last pass through the pasture to check for any new calves. The bunk is full of food and we’ve got our eye on the weather. Bring on the storm – or better yet – send it somewhere else!