Calving Season Brings Unexpected Surprises

The Daily Dig

There comes a rustling next to me and a loud "Mawwww!" Talk about being scared out of your wits.

Published on: March 22, 2013

To everything, turn, turn, turn, there is a season, turn, turn, turn. You know how the song goes.

It is officially spring. If you ask a high school student what the season it is, he would gladly tell you "basketball season".  Ask a banker, they would answer you "refinancing season" or a financial advisor, "tax season". But ask a farmer what season it is and he will answer, "calving season".

Currently, in this blogger's life it is calving season. And with that brings unexpected surprises and embarrassing stories.

I called home the other day to check in with my parents and see how things are going on the farm. (The family farm is in Nebraska, and I get back there about once a month.) So the other day when I called home to say hello, I asked what was new as always. Mom tells me that dad had his second set of twins. Without missing a beat, I simply told her that I didn't know dad was expecting!

Many times you can bring a calf out of hyperthermia by a little warmth from a heat lamp and a blowdryer.
Many times you can bring a calf out of hyperthermia by a little warmth from a heat lamp and a blowdryer.

Each year, it seems like heifers want to one-up dad. Last year he had three sets of twins, this year he is sitting at two sets of twins, but he still has one more to go.

This year has been a little interesting with the weather staying wet and not really warming up but not really freezing either. The local vet says that many calves are getting sick with bacterial infections due to the wet weather. A friend just had his smallest calf yet coming in at 40 lbs.

So this conversation with my mom led us to reminisce on past calving seasons and to share these following stories:

•One year, it was so cold outside and of course, there was a new calf. It was weak and wouldn't eat. It was fighting hyperthermia. I sat out there in the barn, in a corner stall with a heat lamp and a blow dryer. It didn’t' take long to warm that calf up and bring it out of hyperthermia. That calf survived.

This calf was sick with a bacterial infection due to the wet conditions lately.
This calf was sick with a bacterial infection due to the wet conditions lately.

•I still get a chuckle whenever I see a plastic round dish sled. Growing up, we never used our dish sled  to actually do any sledding. Instead, we used ours to load a new calf on and slide it across the yard to the house so we could put it in the tub to warm up. This happened usually when dad was at work and we were left manage the farm.

•Then there is that one year I was on my way to school. It was still dark out at 6:30 a.m. in February. I had my books and was on my way out to the car leaving through the newly built mudroom. Pitch dark and cold, I was putting on my shoes. (I was lazy to turn on the light and so would put my shoes on in the dark. Only once did I walk out with mismatched pair of shoes). There comes a rustling next to me and a loud "Mawwww!" Talk about being scared out of your wits. I screamed and ran to get the light turned on and there is a small calf walking around. Mom is standing in the door laughing, as she forgot to tell me there was a newborn calf.

To this day, I will turn the light on first before walking into that mudroom.

So be it winter, spring, fall or summer – to everything, there is a season.