We have Calves!

Good evening all! Currently… I am sitting in my apartment sipping on a homemade mocha and munching on frozen banana peanut butter bites- which I highly recommend! I am teasing my mind, warming myself with warm coffee while allowing myself to pretend it’s hot with frozen treats haha.

bananas

I am so over this cold front already and it just arrived! Just imagine relaxing in the sun with a good novel! Ahhh I am so ready for hot summer nights! I bet our babies are also ready for warmer temperatures. The 2017 calving season will be wrapping up at the Ball Farm here in a few weeks. It has been a busy couple of months for dad. I applaud him and his hard work! I am looking forward to helping with the 2018 calving season :).

Ball Calving Season

Even though I am not physically at the farm, I feel like I was right in the midst of the action. Dad has been very diligent in sending photos of the cows and their calves. I am getting updates in real time and its very exciting to see our herd expand.

A lot of hard work and time is dedicated to the herd during calving season. Typically our season starts towards the end of March and continues into May. This year we had a calf almost every day during the month of April! Very very busy! But the first step actually starts with the cow. It is very important for the new calf to consume their first milking. The first meal for a calf includes colostrum. Just like humans, calves need colostrum to build their immune systems. The colostrum contains antibodies to protect the calf from diseases.

Ball Calving Season (1)

The second step happens a few days later. Farmers use a variety of methods to identify their calves when they are born. Most cattle producers tag their calves and some may also use more permanent methods like branding. We currently use the tagging method. To help with identifying the pairs, calves get the same number as the cow. We are in the process of developing a new numbering system that will allow us to maintain more information.

ear tag

The third step happens when we tag the calf. Unless a bull, fertile male, is going to be used as a breeding animal, farmers castrate them. Bulls are castrated for a couple of reasons, 1) it reduces aggressiveness and sexual activity and 2) creates a higher quality grade and a more tender beef cut. Banding is an alternative method to traditional castration. It offers less stress and faster healing.

calves

The fourth step takes a bit more time.  We keep in-depth records for each individual calving season. By managing strong records we can refer back to it throughout the year.  Below is an example of our records. We also record when we get the calves preconditioned by the vet.

records

And finally we watch the calves grow! Calving season is a lot a work but it is so worth it. Not only do we have baby calves, we have baby seedlings!! Here is you official flower garden update: We have germination! Checkout the snapdragon seedlings :).

snapdragons

Have a great night!!

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