Calving season has begun here at PCC. Our due date this year is May 14th, but with the calving ease (short-gestation) bred into our herd, our first calf came on May 4th. In all likelihood, our cows will be 25% done calving by the due date.
As I was going through my mental checklist of things to do before we started calving, I realized that I really don’t have much to do. I take care of the water and mineral and keep them moving to fresh pasture – they take care of everything else. For the commercial rancher, that’s all there is to it; let the cows do all the work.
However, being a seedstock producer, there are a few additional things we take very seriously at calving time. Recordkeeping at birth is very important in this business. I weigh and tag every calf that is born on our ranch, but that isn’t all. Every cow is given a score for Body Condition, Udder Conformation, Maternal Instinct and Disposition on the day she calves.
Remember, though, timing when tagging a new calf is critical. I will never mess with brand new babies. It’s best to leave them completely alone for several hours. There is a natural bonding process they need to go through without interruption. Besides, I don’t really like getting my pants dirty!
In next week’s PCC Update, I will discuss the four traits that we score for in more detail.