Saturday I was giving a tour to a very nice family, Drew, Kat and their three kids, two of which were newborn twins! We had a rather abbreviated tour because with kids and babies, you have to keep moving so I really didn’t get to explain our practices very well. Oh well, it was a beautiful day and they bought a smattering of products to try so I’m sure they will find something they like and we can talk more next time.
As we hopped on the gator and headed out to the pasture on our tour, I noticed that there was a calf sitting outside the wire of the temporary paddock. That’s not unusual as young calves can often walk right under the hot wire but this calf wasn’t marked like our other young calves. She was solid black and had no ear tag. I apologized and paused the tour so I could go check out this calf and sure enough we had a brand new calf on the ground. I was a bit perplexed because I knew we’d just been out there feeding a few hours before and had not seen a calf. And this calf was large and completely dry. Had this calf been born previously and we somehow overlooked it? I also didn’t see the mother anywhere.
As you can see, this calf has a thick coat, is completely dry, and other than being wobbly looks at least a few days old. It’s hard to tell from this picture, but the calf was taller and heavier than normal as well.
Of course I took the opportunity to show the family the new calf because how often do you get to see a brand new calf, just born? Plus with a mother of three riding along, I could use some maternal help finding the mother. Kat quickly noted that one of the cows was eating afterbirth. Sure enough #14 was the mother and had JUST given birth. I looked again at this calf, wobbling around unsteadily and knew from everything I was looking at that it was just born. We looked at the calf a bit more and then headed on for the rest of our tour.
After our family left, Miguel, Emily and I all went back out to the pasture to see the new calf and give her an ear tag. We did confirm it was a her so no banding was needed. After ear tagging, we stayed to make sure that the new calf nursed.
After a few minutes of the calf trying to nurse anything nearby, other cows, steers, other calves, she finally got next to mom and was able to latch on. Once that happened, I knew we were good to go, especially with the weather being so nice unlike last time that #14 had a calf when it was snowing and sleeting. February 12th last time. She’s on a pretty good schedule.