Friday, January 16, 2009

Should I go to bed?

Update: Oh, yes, I definitely should have gone to bed. Still, nothing is happening. Early labor for a cow is less than three hours. Early labor for a heiffer is usually three to seventy-two. And, nothing much is happening with her - except for the initial signs of early labor and a little bit of irritation. My DH is at work. I am checking her every few hours. Last year (our first year trying this), Jon talked about installing a webcam. But, he didn't, so we get to go check on the heiffers/cows.

Last year we had one successful birth. We had one still birth that happened pretty much before we got home from being out a recital. Then, we had a third birth that was a difficult birth, but the calf seemed fine. However, we didn't know how important it was to make sure they get a lot of colostrum (for immunity and nutrition) the first half hour. The mom didn't mother him well at first, and we lost him a couple of weeks later.

So, we did at least two things wrong last year. We didn't make sure the mom mothered the calf, nor did we have a way of giving colostrum on hand. Then, also, we didn't realize how serious to get a "Heiffer Bull" for first time moms and all our calves we 90-100 pounds - which is HUGE. Pinzgauers are known for having large calves (and good growth) anyhow.

This Heiffer (a Heiffer is a first time momma cow) that is going into labor now is a Black Angus and they are known for low birth weight calves and for easy deliveries. So, this Heiffer should do well. We then have one other Black Angus Heiffer that has been bred to another Black Angus. After that we have a Pinzgauer cow (2nd time momma) bred to a low-birth weight Pinzgauer Bull and a Red Angus cow (2nd time momma) bred to a low-birth weight Pinzgauer Bull. Then, we have a Pinzgauer cow (2nd time momma) bred to a Black Angus (that one isn't coming until summer). And, possibly we have a Free Martin (which a girl twin to a boy steer - they only have a 5% chance of going into heat) that looks like she may have cycled and may be pregnant for a summer birth.

So that should be...

  • 2 Black Angus Calves
  • 1 Pinzgauer Calf
  • 1 Red Angus/Pinzgauer mix
  • 1-2 Black Angus/Pinzgauer mix

We like to mix it up around here.



Original Message:

Should I go to bed? I am up because my husband is down with a cow (well, really a Heiffer) that looks like she will be giving birth sometime in the next day (which could mean a half hour). I am a night owl, but really at 1:45 in the morning, even I am getting sleepy. I think I should go check on the progress, then go lay down. I have a hard time going to sleep without him. :(


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