We have a 90 day calving season – the cows are bred to start calving December 1st with the last calf coming the first week of March. As my vet always reminds me – there are 450 “women” in the maternity ward and things won’t always go as planned. Wow – what an understatement!!
Today our culture is one that says – everyone must get a trophy – students should only get A’s so they won’t get their feelings hurt – and on and on it goes in our efforts to make life “easy”. But the reality is – that life is not always easy. No matter the difficult circumstances we must be ready and willing to work through the different and complex scenarios life presents. There is no better class room than ranch life. And “Problem Solving 101” begins in calving season.
December 1st – the very first day of calving season – cow Y565 thought she was in labor – pushed too hard resulting in a prolapse that required us getting her to the vet for stitches. A few days later – she had her calf safely. Cow and calf doing fine.
On the very same day – later in the evening – found Y690 in labor. She seemed to be in difficulty. You remember from previous stories – Brandon is the cowboy who has been with us for years on this ranch – always with me for scheduled cow work and emergencies. So I called Brandon and even though he headed our way immediately – it was dark by the time he got to us. Brandon and Jess Bishop were on horseback and I drove to the place where the cow was. Of course, she got up and ran so Brandon roped her by the headlights of the truck. Believe me – that is a feat you have to witness to understand the difficulty. Brandon delivered the calf. It had tilted its little head to the side during contractions and could not sustain a normal birth. We saved the cow – but lost the calf.
We make rounds through our pastures every day during calving season. A heifer is one having her first calf and she requires more attention. When the heifer goes into labor – she is watched closely – but we will talk more about heifers later. A cow is an old pro – she usually has her calf in the first hour – no problems. So in making our rounds – we know if a cow is in trouble.
December 10th we had another issue with presentation. We got the cow to the vet only to discover that this little guy kept tilting his little head down during contractions. But the vet pulled his head up and delivered him just fine. Mom and baby doing well.
December 15th Y656 was found in difficulty. She was taken to the vet. She delivered the most beautiful – healthy – strong – vibrant calf and then she died. Right there in the vet clinic. No one could believe it. The calf was taken home for bottle feeding. We call him Bucky and you have never seen anyone with more energy and life than this little guy.
So in the very first couple of weeks – we had several life and death situations. We take the health of our cattle very seriously. We would love to tell you that everything goes just as we wish and that our heart never knows any pain – that is not reality. But you must also know that by December 15th we had 140 healthy babies – on the ground – delivered without any assistance – moms and babies doing well. Now that is truly glorious!!
The days can be exhausting – but the rewards outweigh the difficulties. Every day does not work out like I would always want it to – but I trust God. I know that HE is in control – HE is the only one that knows the whys of the moment – and I believe God works ALL things for our good. And I believe that God is good ALL the time. I count my blessings – my family – my friends – this ranch and (at this writing) 275 healthy babies on the ground bouncing around full of life and energy. To God be the glory!!!