Spring Is for Babies…Animals That Is

It is most definitely spring here in northeast Nebraska. I scored my first sunburn a couple days ago. The kids found the little wading pool in its winter storage, pulled it out, and played for hours. I think that 2012 (this is being written before April 1!) has already equaled or exceeded the number of days over 90 degrees compared to the entire years of 2010 or 2011. A note to God: I am not complaining. I love warm weather much more than cold winters.

The last day of March also marked the start of calving season. The first calf (3 weeks early!) was spotted from our living room window. We strategically built our house on the top of a hill and included large windows. In addition to the beautiful view, we also have a built-in calving observation post. It is great to sip on a glass of tea while scanning the pastures for new calves.

After baby was spotted, hubby headed out for the newborn checkup; to make sure the calf was clean and had already gotten colostrum (the first milk from the mother). At the same time, our sons were debating calf’s name. It was decided that the first calf of the year should be named “Uno”. 

A quick phone call from hubby brought interesting news–twins. The sons quickly dubbed them “Uno” and “Dos”. Hubby has since protested this decision as the Angus Association has declared 2012 to be the year of “Y”. He intends to register the twins as “Ying” and “Yang”. We continued to watch their progress throughout the day. Unfortunately for “Dos”, momma only wanted one calf and rejected him. He is now snuggled in a shady, grass-filled pen resisting all attempts to feed him. *sigh*.

The babies do not stop with the cows. Our mother cat has taken over the doghouse and is getting ready for new kittens. We expect to see them in a week or two. It takes about 5 or 6 new kittens each year to have enough survive and keep our furball (cat) population stable. A stable furball population is important on a farm or ranch. Too many furballs results in diseases and unhealthy cats, but too few furballs results in rodents and other varmints getting too close to the house and chickens. We try to spay and neuter as necessary to walk this line.

The big excitement around here this spring is the adoption of a new puppy. We had to euthanize our very useless, but very well-behaved Australian Sheperd a few weeks ago. He had been sick for a while but when he quit eating, it was time to make the tough decision. His exceptional behavior meant that the boys could leave boots, toys, and all kinds of other stuff laying around outside (despite my frequent attempts to teach “picking-up 101”). I am certain that puppy will be a better teacher than me. [*evil laugh*oh wait she got a hold of my garden tools…arghhhh!*] We are bringing her home in the next two weeks. Chickens–you have been warned.

Speaking of chickens, some of you may remember a previous post on the Great Chick Conspiracy in which my sons found a broody hen willing to sit on eggs. They desperately wanted to hatch their own chicks, so they left the eggs with her. Their conspiracy failed, mostly because they were too impatient to realize it took 21 days for the eggs to hatch. Well, hubby and the boys talked me into checking out the incubator from our local extension office and we now have about 20 eggs basking in the warm, humid environment.

I am not sure if any will hatch or not, but since a tornado destroyed our chick pens last summer, I have taken the precaution of buying all the pieces to build a new one. I had a great time quizzing clerks at the home improvement store about the correct number and type of PVC fittings to create a particular structure. Others were brought in to help me calculate the amount of chicken wire needed to cover said structure. Surely, I was not the weirdest person they encountered that day. (I can hope, can’t I?)

What are your baby farm animal stories?!? I would love to hear more.

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About jheem

I grew up on a diversified dairy farm in southeast South Dakota where I learned how to throw a hay bale, pull a calf, deal with death, and "name" the cows. I was in 4H and FFA, and was privileged to serve as a state FFA officer. In college, I studied animal science, focusing on beef cows, mostly because I figured they were less work than dairy cows....I ended up with a Masters Degree in ruminant nutrition and went to work for the University of Nebraska, first as a research tech coordinating data collection for a swine unit and beef feedlot on a research farm and then as an extension educator. In my current job, I focus on environmental issues related to animal agriculture (which is a nice way of saying I talk about manure alot). My husband and I live and work on a seedstock cattle operation in northeast Nebraska. You can learn more about our cattle operation by visiting my husband's blog at http://aldersonangus.wordpress.com.
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4 Responses to Spring Is for Babies…Animals That Is

  1. Seasonsgirl says:

    I have family in Nebraska and we were just out there a couple weeks ago for my grandmother’s 80th birthday (I wrote about it in my blog as I got so many good pictures while traveling out there). I am sorry about your dog… we have two and know it must have been hard even if he was up there in years. I am interested in looking at your chicken blog as we have 10 chickens we raised form 4 or 5 day old chicks. This is my first visit to your blog. I am enjoying it.

  2. Pingback: Random Updates: Winter Storm, Babies In the Basement | Fence Post Diaries

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