Without fail, members of the status quo beef industry start talking about calving every January. Several beef publications start sharing articles and advice on calving. Members of most internet forums start sharing their stories and thoughts. There is much talk about calf warmers, blankets and sheds. There is much talk about calving barns and remote cameras. There is much talk about calf carriers and sleds to haul the froze-out, newborn calves to the barn – or house.
Soon we will be hearing horror stories about calving in the snow and sub-zero, wind-chill temperatures. Every year we hear ranchers whine and complain about how hard they work. We also hear them whine and complain about the number of calves they lose. Although I feel sorry for the livestock, I have trouble feeling sorry for the ranchers. They deliberately chose to calve in the winter when they turned their bulls out last year. Winter calving is NOT profitable, enjoyable or sustainable! In most cases, it is inhumane.
My calves remain safe and warm in their mother’s womb until early May. Consequently, I probably won’t have any horror stories to share. I’m good with that! As far as I am concerned, calving in sync with nature and/or your forage resources is the only way to go. We calved in April for several years. I didn’t realize how far out of sync with nature we were until we moved to May calving.