It’s hot and dry and we are in full calving mode.
The pregnant ladies enjoy cooling off in the pond.
The ladies that have calved are in the brush or in the willows, most likely to try to hide from us.
But we find them every time.
Once their calf has gotten up and sucked, we step in to vaccinate them and give them a shiny new earring with a number that matches mom’s. Once they’ve gotten up from that, mom hums and leads her calf away from us.
While we were tagging another calf, the cow in the distance in this image came running up thinking we had her calf. It wasn’t hers and she ran off from us in a panic. We found hers seconds later and Patrick bahhhed like a calf until she came over the hill.
It took her a minute but she soon realized we found her calf. She came over, claimed it and we tagged him and sent them on their merry way. I bet she’ll keep up with him after that episode.
Now this lady was scary. I mean flat out mad. So I stayed in the rhino.
She was so mad she would bellow and holler with her tongue hanging out and slobber flying everywhere.
Patrick had to swat at her with the plastic paddle. She was so mean and oh so mad. We barely got out of this one alive. Cows are mostly mellow creatures but once they have a calf, they can be dangerous.
Here are some peaceful and rather cute babies and mommies portraits.
I’m quite partial to the red and white spotted cuties.
This calf is one of my favorites.
I love this time of year.
Patrick calls him Pinrow. Don’t know where he got that from but I’m going with it… I guess.
Anyway, our little bum is doing well and is a handful. After we got him from the meadow to the barn, it was a battle to get him to take the colostrum and his first feeding. He definitely wouldn’t have made it with his mother. He was so limp that first day and would not have gotten up to suck.
On the second day, once the colostrum had settled in his belly, we were finally able to get him on his feet. He stumbled around for a while like he’d had one too many.
He would jump and buck and really enjoyed his new found legs. I think he startled himself with his smooth moves.
Then he fearlessly came right up to me. I had to get Patrick to help me get him started on the bottle. He just didn’t know what he was doing since he was out of sync with his instincts to suckle his mother’s teat. But it didn’t take more than a day for him to get a handle on the bottle.
And now, he’s happy and healthy and full of life. Therefore getting in the pin with him can be brutal for me. He will chase and butt me so hard with his head, it’s better to just feed him through the fence.
As much as I enjoy feeding him, it would be so much better if he had a cow momma. All I can do is keep him alive and well. I can’t provide for him what a real momma would. He’s a sweetheart and I love looking in his deep blue eyes while he sucks. So, I’ll simply cherish this time with him while I’ve got it. ♥
We got a set of twins this morning. The momma is only accepting one.
So I’ll be momma for a while.
We’ll draft this little booboo onto a cow that loses her calf in the future. But for now, I need to head out to give her a hit of colostrum and some milk.
We’re almost done calving out the black cows, now it’s time for the reds. ♥
“This is my dance space. This is your dance space. I don’t go into yours, you don’t go into mine.” (name that movie)
Alice is always up in my business. Whenever I pass through the meadow she’s comes right up to see what I’m up to… and apparently to see what I smell like. ‘Cause when I turn around, I get this:
*sniff sniff snort*
It’s a good thing we’re not dance partners.
Speaking of up close and personal,
Kate’s baby is so cute. Just check out her whiskers!
The snow is gone but we are still dealing with high winds. Yesterday was warm but springtime really doesn’t kick in until June so…I guess I’ll take the tossed in warm days between snow days any time they want to appear.
Happy Monday my friends!
Snow has been falling since early this morning but isn’t sticking much.
Obviously I can’t keep my eyes or my camera off of Kate and her little one.
But I’m justified in my concern and constant spying.
Patrick couldn’t find our fragile loved one this morning, and neither could her frantic mother and the other horses.
She got herself pinned in a tight spot and when I got the call, I came running and actually hurdled over
the fence to help .
Once we freed her from her confines, Kate whinnied, ran right up to her and they immediately hooked onto one another. The love and bond is so strong with these two. There is always the chance that mom will disown her foal if something rocks the boat.
It was very stressful but everyone is fine and together and momma Leah is watching over them closer than ever. But I’m watching from the window as I recover from that hurdle. I think I pulled something.
Kate had her baby girl yesterday morning as I was reporting to you about Poco and her filly.
We walked up quietly just to check from a distance to make sure mom and baby were well.
She was up and sucking….
…and still learning how to work those long legs.
This bald eagle was circling, I don’t think he posed a threat but he probably smelled the brand new life and was just as curious as we were.
I checked on them later in the afternoon and her nose was covered in milk. Momma seemed tired.
So they both went down for a nap. Good work first time mom.
Kate loves her baby.
So do I.
Wasn’t sure what to expect on day two. February is not ideal for a horse to give birth out here in the low temps but since this wasn’t planned, we leave it up to nature.
I thought I’d find our new colt and her momma inside the barn on her first snowy morning but when I walked up to check on them, they were outside taking it all in.
By afternoon the sun came out and it was a great time for a nap to soak in the warmth.
When she’s about 3 weeks old, we’ll have a good idea what she will look like as a full grown horse. Her color, her build, etc. Right now she’s all legs.
In the evening we separated Kate from the big herd of geldings and mares and put her in the pasture with Crazy Alice and Pepper. They ran her hard until she was fed up and showed them who was boss.
This will be the first time Kate gives birth and when she finally does, we’ll move her in with Poco and the filly.
We had a sweet surprise yesterday afternoon. As I was replying to an email from my dear friend back east that introduced me to Wyoming, Patrick called and said “put your coat on, get on the four wheeler and come to the hillside where we walk the dogs”. I knew exactly where he was talking about so off I went.
When I arrived, I saw her. This itty bitty filly was already standing, still wet and maybe 2 hours old. And folks, this was an unplanned parenthood. About 11 months ago, the neighbors stud got in with 2 of our mares and may have bred them both. We were reassured by many that the horses weren’t cycling and more than likely weren’t bred.
But this little cutie-pie proves everyone wrong.
We gave them a couple hours and noticed that the geldings were kicking each other competing for the attention of the colt and mare. We had to get them separated to calm everyone down. It wasn’t easy but we got them corralled.
Poco 190 and her colt are in their own pin with protection from the cold and wind. Kate has a big belly so we’ll be watching her closely for the next few days. In the meantime, I’ll be having fun taking portraits of our precious little mutt.
This is BK Kitty (Black Kitty Kitty). She is black as night with the brightest yellow eyes. I know the name isn’t all that creative but when I give an animal a schmooshy name, I get very attached. Because she’s an outside cat and a wanderer, the generic name gives us distance as I’m trying not to get too close. She hangs out on the front porch and with her boisterous singing voice, has successfully adopted us.
She is so sweet and oh so hyper. She doesn’t sit still for our photo shoots and she’s always on point. So serious in her hunting, she has her eyes and ears peeled at all times. She follows me around the ranch on my frequent photo hunts. She slinks through the tall grass and peeks through with those bold, yellow eyes.
Hopefully I haven’t crossed your eyes or given you a headache with this shot. But it’s a perfect example of her not being very cooperative on our photo shoots. As soon as I get her composed she moves in too close and I can’t focus.
So I put the wide angle lens on and captured her after her meal.
With the windchill, the temperature was about 5 below zero yesterday. I couldn’t go beyond the porch without my face hurting from the roaring winds and freezing temps. I’ve made a very warm fleece bed for BK in our shed and she has a cozy place to stay during the cold days. Patrick says she’s been around the ranch for a few years now and has weathered many cold winters. She’s a tough one and I’m happy to have her around. The only one that doesn’t care too much for her is my inside kitty, Matilda. But that’s a story for another time.
I hope your Thanksgiving Day is full of love and laughter…..and maybe a little dancing.
Have a good one!
Definition for Conga Line: snake dance; a group progression in a single-file serpentine path.
Do not worry, this is not a gruesome tale.(as the title may make it sound)
Yesterday I showed you where the deer and the antelope play. Today I will show you baby turkeys! While I was focused on the deer, I heard quiet clucking. I looked in the patch of tall grass ahead of me and saw several hens.
Occasionally I would see little heads peek up and run to momma. The grass was too tall to get a good view of them but I patiently waited to see where they were going to step to next.
Then one came out in a small clearing.
I looked out onto the road and saw another hen with her 2 babies.
I looked back to the clearing in the tall grass and saw a couple more little ones. This time showing off for the camera and they were starting to file into a single line. They haven’t quite grown into their feathers have they!
This is probably my favorite shot of the baby turkeys by far. I love the conga line across the road. “Look at me Mom!”
I counted 7 baby turkeys in all. Lately, I’ve only spotted them in smaller groups so I was happy to see this many at one time.
Need I say more?
Ohhh, but I will tell you more.
These little precious fluffballs of cuteness are Australian Shepard pups. They are 4 weeks old and Patrick and I spent some time with them and their owners on Sunday.
Don’t look into those eyes, they will steal your heart!
They climbed all over us and we more than happy to be the jungle gym.
Pony and I sat on the ground and welcomed the puppy love.
My leg became a pillow for napping after 5 minutes of playing.
This one fell asleep standing up. It’s tiring being so darn cute ya know.
After a while they would climb back into their house, barely able to get in from the high step. But when Steve would whistle, all 9 of them would come rushing out tumbling over each other, stepping on heads and tummies.
This guy is the biggest. He is chunky and they tell us that after he eats, he immediately lays down for a nap. He’s not the most active and he’s so sweet. They are all very loving and there is not a timid one in the bunch.
These little ones are here for the taking. A few already have homes but there are several more up for adoption. If you are in Wyoming or are willing to travel and take a precious pup home, email me or let me know in the comments. Click here for more pictures of the absolute cuteness if you can stand it.
I got back to the beautiful Wyoming grasslands yesterday after being back east for a week and a half and was immediately tossed into a branding for a neighbor. Ahhh the smell of burning hair….home.
After the branding and once the chores were done and a new calf got his earring at the South Ranch, we finally made the trek home.
Upon driving down the dirt road less than a mile away from the house, we saw this happy family toddling across the pasture. I’ve seen this couple often and had no idea they were expecting!
What a treat to come home to. And what a sweet and fuzzy treat for this mother.
Hope all of you wonderful Mothers have a Happy Day.
Yesterday, it rained.
This newborn arrived during the downpour. She’s healthy and her momma kept her warm all day and night. I hear she’s doing good today so she got her earring to match her mom’s.
The roads were muddy and a heavy fog hung over the snow capped mountains.
The corrals were slushy so we decided not to move any cattle as previously planned.
The perk of the day came when Crop Ear made a visit. We haven’t seen her in a while and I was worried she fell prey to a coyote or lion. I was glad to see her munching on some green grass in the meadows by the house.
Today the wind is howling and we’ll be dried out in time for snow to fall tonight.
We got ‘em. Patrick separated the cows from the calves while I got the vaccines ready. They started out with just a coo for their momma. Then the mooing got louder and louder.
“This hurts me as much as it hurts you little ones”, I tell them. I always tear up a little during brandings. But it’s a law, it has to be done.
They bounce back up after it’s all over. “Alright now #48, no disrespect. C’mon now”.
They look good though. I refused to do the actual branding so the guys had to get them to the ground and tattoo while I vaccinated. I was efficient while handing over the irons and giving shots at the same time if I do say so myself.
We were done in less than 40 minutes. They mothered up and started sucking almost immediately.
It was a little chaotic but they stayed paired up for a little while. Then we opened the gate to let them out.
And they hauled butt!
A few little ones went the wrong way so Patrick and one mother went to get them and lead them in the right direction. Even young calves think they know everything.
And off they ran to new pasture.
Phew! That group of 20 is done. Only 300 or more to go.
The calves are growing up. They are still munchkins compared to their momma but they get feistier and run faster everyday.
They cautiously approach me full of curiosity when the rancher is unloading a bale of hay.
But today is branding day for these guys and gals and it won’t be as easy to get this close to them.
We’ve got to catch these little grasshoppers first.
Wish us luck because this will probably be our view for the next couple of hours before we get them pinned.
We’re busy around here. Remember, I often use the term “we” loosely. I do help out, like cradling a newborn that’s too cold and the momma can’t take care of it in the beginning. Mostly though, I stand back with the camera. I’m loving being around these little munchkins but it just means a lot of work for the ranchers.
Once the calves are born and have sucked, they get their ears pierced.
It’s not the prettiest accessory but it serves it’s purpose. It helps to pair them with momma if they get separated.
Some are born fast and feisty. That means you’ve got to chase them through the meadows and grab them up when they hide in the willows. They have to get their ear tag and be inspected by the rancher to check their health.
Sometimes milk bags can’t provide so eventually the Rancher becomes the Mother.
Sunset is a favorite time. That means a couple if not a few hours of sleep before it starts all over again.
But it’s not just the ranchers that are busy around here. While we’re calving, the gobblers are strutting and the hens are watching and waiting for their knight is shining armor. I’ll have those photos for you tomorrow.
To get the calf to recognize her as it’s mother, she will hum. The hum is a low pitch, closed mouth mooooooo, obviously. Then, when they are all mixed up in the herd together, mom can hum and the calf can find her quickly. It is also a way to comfort the calf if frightened by us humans.
I remember one very snowy day last year a calf got herself turned around in an offshoot of a corral and couldn’t find her way out. The mother was already out and was humming to get the calf’s attention. The snow was so high, up to my knees, and the calf started to panic. Patrick instructed me to go in there and hum to her. I did, and the calf turned around. I continued to hum as I led her out to her mother into the corral. I mentioned that here.
I love hearing the hum, it means she’s a good mom and loves her calf.
Yes! It is finally spring around here. It’s warming up and that means very little sleep and hard but wonderful work. Cows and ranchers are all busy. Calving is beautiful and precious but it can also break your heart. Fortunately, it hasn’t been too emotional yet.
The calves that were our early arrivals have become bosom buddies and are so entertaining.
They jump, kick and climb on anything they can get their hooves on.
And they are already munching on a little hay.
While the older ones play and eat all day, little ones are being born and are learning to use their legs.
This little one was born to the heifer (first time mother) I had to watch over the other morning. The calf convinced her that she was his mother and she is now very loving and hums to him constantly. She loves her baby and that is such a relief.
He’s so cute and feisty. I’m so glad he made it. They will join the herd soon but for now, he and his mom will stay in a corral separate from the others. He needs to get more comfortable with his legs.