Mother up

Cattle Tales
At the Colvin Ranch, we have what is called a cow/calf operation. This type of ranching is very traditional and is one of the most widely type of agriculture operation in the United States. There are cow/calf operations in every state of the US, as well in every county in Washington. There are few other agricultural operations that are so widely dispersed throughout the country. Cow/calf operations can be from the very small (1 or 2 cows) to the very large (20,000 cows), but the basics are the same.
The cow’s job is to have a calf every year, to nurse and raise the calf, and to teach it what to eat, where the water is located and how to move from one pasture to another.
The most important moment in time for the long term health of the calf is right after it is born. The cow’s first milk, (colostrum) is very rich nutritionally and high in antibodies. These antibodies are important for the calf to help protect it from all the bacteria, and diseases that are naturally occurring in the environment. It is important that the calf gets this milk as soon as possible after birth. I see it every year, but it is still amazing, to see a calf up on its feet and nursing mom within 30 minutes of being born.
Cows are generally very protective of their calves. It is that mothering instinct that protects the calf from predators and other dangers. Some cows can be so protective that I need to keep a close eye out for them. After the calf is about a month old, these cows will calm down because they know their calves are able to run away from danger. It is impossible to catch a month old calf, unless you are good with a rope, and if you do catch one, you will have a handful. Boy can they kick and struggle to get free.
Most ranchers have their calving season in the spring, but there are some who will have a fall calving herd. It all depends on personal preferences, what the resources (pasture/grass) are, and what other demands there may be on the rancher’s time. We calve in spring, usually starting about mid March. By this time, the weather is warming up, there is more sunshine, and the calves will get a good start in life. While I enjoy all the seasons, this is my favorite time of year.
Beef Orders: We are now taking orders, if you would like an order form just send us an email.
Feb. 27, 2009

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