It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Calving season is in full swing. My newsfeed, camera roll and Snapchat stories are filled with all the trials, sleepless nights and success stories that come along with this season on the ranch. In my many years of calving seasons, I’ve learned there are 11 inevitable truths to this stressful and rewarding time.
Truth 1: the first cow that calves will never be in the first set of heavies you have sorted.
It never fails, you go out to check the pasture farthest away (that you sorted the day before) and there’s a cow off by herself with a fresh calf!
Truth 2: those “naps” you told yourself you were getting during night checks, not happening.
Sometimes at 3am you keep yourself going by thinking of that nice 10am nap you’re going to take. Turns out 10am came and went with no nap in sight!
Truth 3: “if you don’t shower for just 1 more day the cows will accept you as their own.”
I’m not sure if this is a scientific fact but it’s (apparently) what you tell your wife when asked how long it’s been since you showered.
Truth 4: this is the most exciting time of year.
Watching new life come into the world is magical. Seeing your hard work, breeding decisions (hopefully) and planning all come together as that calf is being born and that cow becomes the mom you knew she could be is amazing.
Truth 5: sometimes cows aren’t as grateful as you think they should be.
Cold nights and snow are just part of spring calving season in the west. However, when you spent all day bedding down a calving pen and the cows still choose the lay 3 feet away, not under the shelter or on bedding it’s hard to think of them as anything but ungrateful.
Truth 6: sometimes calves aren’t as grateful as you think they should be.
Whether you just pulled one, had to bring one into your truck to warm up, or helped it find its first-calf-heifer momma that is suddenly MIA you’ve put a lot of work into getting that calf here! Surely that warrants them acting right and not trying to kick you, head butt you or be a fence crawler!
Truth 7: if you get volunteered to tag a specific calf…its mom is probably nuts.
“Go tag the calf,” he said. “I promise she’s real friendly,” he said. Then you immediately regret taking on this chore as a momma cow comes charging at you.
Truth 8: things go wrong when you have other plans.
It never fails, you’re headed to a kid’s game, Valentine’s Day dinner or some other event that requires clean clothes and a timely appearance when something big something goes wrong. Three hours and several missed calls later you just want to nap.
Truth 9: Siri has no idea what you’re saying.
Trying to text hands-free during calving season is a chore in itself! You’ll have whole conversations with misspelled words that make no sense. You just hope the recipient can decipher your own special calving season morse code.
Truth 10: first calf heifers are idiots.
These poor girls just can’t help it. They go the wrong way, they get nervous and they just don’t have the rhythm down. No matter how good the group as a whole is, there are always those couple girls that just cause problems. They don’t mean to (for most of them) they just don’t know any better. #rookies
Truth 11: this is perfect way to grow up.
I can’t imagine my life if I hadn’t grown up on a ranch. It’s a lifestyle I’m thankful for every day. The lessons learned, especially during calving season (even as an adult!), are real-world, immediate and second-to-none. Raising a family with the patience, values and work ethic it takes to make it through calving season and then turn around and do it all over again is invaluable!
Good luck to all of you in the throes of #calfwatch17!
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