Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Snow Days are work days for farm kids

Last night it was raining and misting slightly, and I didn't think the predicted snow would really come to our area, but it did! Yesterday as we headed to a high school basketball game, this little calf was born. The cow decided that since there isn't water in the creek, it was a perfect place to bed her new baby down. It was out of the wind, but still in the snow and he was cold this morning. I fed him some hot milk and we brought some straw for a bed.

My son had to carry the bale of straw through the trees and down into the creek bottom. Luckily it wasn't very heavy, just awkward to carry that far.
We spread it out where the calf had been lying. Then we put him right in the middle of the new straw bed. He'll be nice and warm now. There is even room for the Mama Cow if she wants to lie down too.
Then we decided to roll out some straw for all the heifers that are calving. We don't have many calves due in the next few weeks, but within a month, the rest of them will get started. I just wanted them to have a warm dry place to lie down.
Immediately all the heifers come to investigate the straw. They taste it to see if we were rolling out food, and although they will eat straw, it isn't as good as the silage that the feed truck will bring them in a bit.
Then we head to roll out straw in the open sided barn we have for our yearling bulls. You can't get a tractor in the barn, so we roll out the bale by hand. It is important to have a warm dry bed for bulls, so they don't have certain sensitive body parts frostbit! If their scrotum gets frozen, it could affect their ability to produce sperm and that is the purpose of a bull! So we take extra care with them to make sure they have straw to lie in all winter.
After my boys roll out the straw, the bulls come in to investigate. They love jumping around in it and will soon have it all spread out through the barn. They'll spend most of the day in their beds, chewing their cud and keeping warm.

This morning when the school closing announcements started rolling across the bottom of the screen of the morning news, I held my breath, waiting to see if our school was closed. When it appeared, I knew I had help for the rest of the day! Farm kids don't get a day off when bad weather closes school. The cattle need extra care on those days, and extra help is always welcome!

Before we went out, I started a crockpot of soup for supper tonight. It will taste great and warm us up after a day of working outside.  A few years ago, we had a huge snowstorm on Christmas Eve. The regular chores still need to be done, plus a few extras! Read about the aftermath here: Aftermath of Christmas snowstorm.

14 comments:

  1. We didn't get the snow here in Edmond, OKlahoma. Got some much needed rain though. Sorry your baby calves are so cold in this wet weather. I grew up on a farm in Minnesota, and those babies are the moneymakers, and we all have to pitch in to take care of them. Their Mamas sometimes need just a little help. Fun to see your son carry a bale of straw in just one hand!!! Strong kid!!

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    1. Oh, Ellen!! He is a typical teenage boy...had to show off, if even for his mama. Then I decided to take a picture. He'll be proud to see it is on the blog!

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  2. enjoyed reading about life on a snow day in kansas

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    1. Thanks, Pam! I love having friends in "real life" read my writing! :)

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  3. It's always the coldest days that the cows need the most attention. Glad your calf is doing well, we had a surprise calf earlier this week as well but thankfully it hasn't been snowing here, just cold!

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    1. The cold is rough on newborn babies, but the snow really adds to the difficulty. If they are born on the snow, it zaps them of body heat very quickly. If they are born in the cold, but on bare ground, they still can get up and get milk and seem fine. It all depends!

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  4. we in pa are getting some of that ks weather 60 degrees to 5 in twelve hours ,we hope to see your moisture build ; much impressed with the straw very clean; good looking set of Angus , calf the right size looks about 65# , we are also cow calf but commercial mixed breed , best to all , JNK Ranch

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    1. It is crazy the weather we've had. It was in single digits this morning, but is to be in the 50s again soon! We haven't had the moisture we need. I think this was about 2 inches of blowing snow. It is so cold, that it isn't much moisture. Hope it will melt and soak into the top couple of inches of topsoil, but we still have dry ponds.

      I'm not sure what this calf weighed. We don't weigh our crossbred calves, but we weigh our purebred calves for registration. This is a crossbred out of a heifer. Pretty nice baby and mama!

      Thanks so much for your comment!

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  5. We hauled a couple of Angus bulls out to the National Western Stock Show in Denver a couple weeks back (during a doozy of a cold spell...wind chill of -23 the night we arrived and unloaded the bulls). Being from Missouri, the bulls sure had a case of chilly/offended male parts! They definitely appreciated their warm straw bed, and adjusted pretty well after a couple of days in the cold.
    It always 'warms' my heart to think about our farmers working hard out there to keep their livestock warm!

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    1. Ha,Jen! I hesitate to say the word "scrotum" on the blog, as I hate to be targeted by porn spammers!! But that word is an important one to people who raise cattle to breed. So, reality won and I said it! :) Hope the bulls did well at the Stock Show!

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  6. We have been spreading lots of hay this last month for everyone to stay warm. The little ones love staying warm in the hay... We are lucky our climate is a little warmer, but the little ones still need to stay warm!

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  7. Hmm, good job! This is really something!

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