When we think of spring we think of new, beautiful flowers, birds singing, trees leafing out and baby animals. We all love the cuteness of baby animals, I know I do! Here at Kitts Ridge Farm we love seeing our cows give birth. There’s no better feeling than walking through the fields to find a new calf trying to stand and bonding with his/her mother.
I know there are many farmers who like to have calves all year round and some who prefer to have calves during certain times of the year. With this being our first year owning cows they were already impregnated for us when we bought them from Kevin’s father. Kevin grew up on a farm, so he has some firsthand knowledge from his grandfather and father about farming. When you get into farming or gardening you have to find what works best for you. I’m always asking my father-in-law questions and he enjoys sharing his knowledge, as much as I love receiving it.
Just like people, a cow’s average gestation period is nine months. So, we are taking this knowledge and using it for planning our calving season for 2019. Having calves in the winter is good, but like summer, winter temperatures can be rough on newborn calves. Winters may be better for calving, just because flies can be torturous, throughout the summer months. If calves are born during the winter months, by spring they will be old enough to enjoy grazing on the fresh luscious green grass, weaned and soon ready for sale. Winter months the supply and demand is lower than in the summer. Farmers from the western part of the US like to buy the younger calves in the spring to help clean up older crops so they can prepare for the new season to come such as wheat crops.
Here, in east Tennessee, winters are usually mild. There may be a few days where the temperatures drop down in the single digits but nothing like the northern states. Luckily, I am able to get out during these days to check and make sure all our calves are thriving. My father-in-law (an expert farmer) also comes by to make sure everything is going well. If there are any updates he lets me know about it.
At the moment, I think our calving season may be ongoing since our bull is in with our girls. 2018 will be his first go round at seeding his offspring! He still has some growing to do but will be ready very soon.
For people who have been farming and have more knowledge than I do, what season do you prefer for calving? I look forward to hearing your ideas.