The goal was to get a post done about calving season while we were in the midst of it, but honestly we were just surviving. We started calving during the cold snap of twenty-five below temps. Like many calving in January of this year, our time was spent basically living with the cows. It was so cold and snowy that most of the calves would have to be snatched from the mother cow within a half hour or less of being born or else their ear and tail tips would be frozen and the rest of their body would proceed in being frozen down. The biggest share of our calves came in January during the cold snap because we synchronized most of the cows for AIing. Most winters in western Montana are fairly mild, so we don’t have large calving sheds or barns, and usually calving in January is not an issue. We had so much snow this year that Frank had to plow fields in order to have places to feed and places for the cows and calves to lay. The warming boxes and our sheds were quite busy this season with chilled calves and Mamas waiting for their babies to warm up. Most of the ranchers around here look exhausted, and if it’s anything like what my Dad’s life has been like the last month, I know why. Averaging two to four hours of sleep per night with no rest during the day has been these rancher’s lives this winter.
But then, THE GLORIOUS SUN has come out and we are blessed to be able to say the hard work has paid off as we have not lost a calf to this date! We had a few days where we were soaking up the sun’s rays along with the baby calves, giving me some time to snap a few pictures.
As time has gone on, the weather has turned from crunchy snow, to wet snow, to rain, to “slicker than snot” ice, to slush, to a creek brimming to its fullest capacity. We have been thankful so far as the snow has melted fairly slowly, keeping us from flooding, but I don’t think the creek can handle much more water and we still have quite a bit of snow to melt off. In general, ranchers are usually thankful for the moisture, but this type of weather has caused sloppy calving conditions. We won’t complain, but thank goodness we only have nineteen cows left to calve!