11 April 2018 – Cloudy and 42 with a high forecast in the low 60’s!
It has been a busy week on the Holler. Saturday afternoon, we met Cowboy Dave down at the High Lonesome, where he had just witnessed his cow Pat-Z’s water breaking. Pat-Z seemed pretty confused as she kept calling after and chasing Lilly, who at the time was the youngest calf in the herd. Every few minutes, she would lay down, clearly having agonizing contractions, and then she would get up and go find Lilly. She must have been thinking that was her baby. This went on for about an hour and as it began to get dark, the herd moved up toward the paddock. We took advantage of this and turned Pat-Z off into the barn corral so she could have a little peace and quiet.
Soon enough, she laid down and gave birth to this big baby bull.
He is huge, or YUGE, so Cowboy decided to call him Hugo. Hugo was up and nursing pretty quickly, and we kept him and his mother inside the barn corral away from the herd that evening because it was supposed to get pretty cold. The next day, before morning chores, we let Pat-Z out to go eat and Pilot Dave and Cowboy Dave grabbed the little guy and tagged him. They did not band him because lucky Hugo is not related by blood to any of the other cows (except his Mom). If he turns out to have nice conformation (that’s rancher speak for a good body frame) then Cowboy and Linda will keep him as a bull for a season and sell him as a bull the next. If he doesn’t turn out to be too nice, we can always castrate him at a later date.
While the two Daves were tagging Hugo’s ear, Pat-Z took off to go eat. About half way to the feeder she realized, “Holy cow! I left my baby!” and she came sprinting back to the corral where the men were working the calf. Fortunately they had shut the gate and were protected from the completely panicked mother. When they were done with Hugo, they opened the gate and Pat-Z stormed in to see her calf. She ran in, saw him, and screamed…MOOOOOOOO!!!! “I didn’t say you could get an earring!” It was really crazy and so loud that the little guy kind of shook and cowered. “Yikes! Mom is Mad!” It reminded me of one of the last scenes in Jurassic Park, when the T-Rex busts into the museum and kills the velociraptors. The T-Rex roars and it is almost as loud as Pat-Z yelling for her baby. Watch the link below to see the scene.
We spent the next few days still following around cows and waiting for the remaining four girls to calve. In between cow-checks, Pilot Dave and I have been busy preparing for planting season and fence building. There are always rocks to pick up, trees to limb, slash to drag, etc. Yesterday, Dave hooked up the disc to the tractor and prepped the southern pasture. Today he is disking the north. Last year we put in oats on the 16th of April, and we plan to try to match that schedule this year, weather permitting.
This morning, Dave and I went to feed the cows and we did a quick count to make sure everyone was there. We had one more than we did at the last cow-check! Puzzle decided she was going to be sneaky and headed off into the woods in the wee hours of the morning and had this beautiful and BIG baby girl!
I used to think it was a great morning surprise if someone brought doughnuts to work, but my perspective has changed out here on the ranch. Keep your doughnuts, I’ll take a brand new healthy baby calf that is already up and running around with the other babies.
We are expecting three more calves. I hope they come today as we are also expecting a winter storm on Thursday night.