I promised that my next post would be of a lighter nature so, for today, I am putting off talking about the ongoing dry conditions and large amount of fire damage in much of northern Alberta. Instead, I have a little spring update that I meant to post 3 weeks ago.
Some time back I mentioned that 4 of our bred heifers were due to calve. Well, they were good enough to wait til my parents returned, and they were also good enough to have 4 perfect little calves. All were born without aid and were healthy and strong. Only one is a heifer though, so the other three will be beef after a year or so of grazing, playing and lounging.
Born most recently was this cute fellow. He is the smallest of the 4 but his mother has a lovely full udder so he is likely to grow quickly. Speaking of his mother, Lickerish (who was introduced in a post last year), comes from one of Dad's best cows. Dad figures Lickerish's mother is around 18 years old. That is VERY old for a cow, and she has had an excellent, quiet-natured calf for 17 of those 18 years. She gave a bull this year so Lickerish may be the last of her genetics on the farm when she goes later this year or next year. We always hate to see such fine animals finally leave.
If anything, Lickerish seems even more quiet now that she is a cow.
This cow had the second most recent calf, delivering about 2 or 3 days before Lickerish. She is another cow that Dad has kept for a very long time, almost as long as Lickerish's mother. She lost her calf last year so she is very, very watchful of her young bull this year. This will be her last year with us and it goes without saying that she will be missed. As this year's calf is a bull, we will have no genetics remaining from her.
These were the first two calves from this year's replacement heifers.
The ginger bull in the front is from one of the Blonde D'Aquitaine heifers that were bought last spring. He is growing incredibly quickly and it will be interesting to see how big he is at weaning. His mother had some udder swelling before he was born and it took a few days to abate. As such, she was a bit of a kicker when he would eat and is also something of an aloof mother. Hopefully she gets a little more attentive in the future but it is clear that she has excellent milk.
The white faced heifer in the rear was the first calf born to this year's replacement heifers. We thought her mother would be the last to deliver as she was the smallest in size and belly. If she grows well, she will be the only one of the four that is kept this year, as she is the only heifer.
So in terms of cattle at least, it has been an excellent spring. It is now around 3 weeks after those pictures were taken and all 4 calves are growing nicely. Its always uplifting to see them tearing around the pasture.
Now we just need some rain so the grass will keep growing so their mothers can keep giving them rich milk and stay healthy themselves.
3 weeks ago