Friday, June 12, 2015

Calves are here!

It was early Monday morning and Kris drove up.  He said, "Do you want to see them?  Twins!"

We were excited, because it meant calving - the most exciting and busiest time of the year - was starting.  These were a boy/girl twin set, which means that 95% of the time, the female is infertile. She's called a freemartin.  

This is why - when the boy/girl twins are in the mother's uterus, the antigens between them mix.  As a result, they develop characteristics of the other gender.  So a freemartin is genetically female, but due to her male characteristics, she cannot reproduce and will never give milk.

We keep only the females and sell the males to be raised as steers.  

Late last night after the boys' baseball game, Kris went out to get another calf - another little bull.

Then this morning, our heifer was born!

It's humid, warm, and not a bad day to be born.  We went down to visit her in the barn and she was standing up.  She was shaky, like most calves who are learning to walk.  Soon after we got there, she laid down and curled up to sleep.

Cute, right?  She is marked with pink not because she's a girl, but because we mark the calves the first two times they're fed colostrum to make sure they get the correct amount.  It's really important that calves get colostrum right away, because it contains so many antibodies.  We want them healthy from the get-go!

Like all our heifers, we plan on her being here on our farm for the rest of her long, healthy life.  Start as babies, become mothers, give lots of milk, and have daughters that give lots of milk!

It's going to be all calves, all the time from here on out.  If you'd like to visit, please stop by ... but only if you think newborn calves are cute.  Oh, wait, that's everyone.

If you want to know more, you can like my farm page on Facebookfollow @carlashelley on twitter, or get the posts sent to your email by filling out the form on the right. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me! 

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