Breeding and Calving

This category covers breeding and calving.

  • Cold Weather Calving

    The winter of 2014 has been unusually severe. While we typically breed our cows so that calving will occur in fall or early winter, every now and then we end up with a cow dropping a calf in some really cold weather. For those who live in northern areas, this may be a normal thing, but for farmers who live in areas that don\'t get extremely cold for very long, calving in extreme cold can cost them a calf. With sale prices for cattle projected to reach record highs, every calf saved will put...
  • Cow Breeding Options

    Since our beef herd calves in the fall, this week our family is starting the annual process of having our cows bred by artificial insemination (AI). The work isn't too hard, but it does take some time. However, we've not always used AI for breeding. Until about three or four years ago, we used a bull to breed our cows. I've had experience with keeping a bull and AI, and whether or not one or the other is best for your farm depends on a few things. Number of Cows We kept a bull for our herd...
  • Nurse Cow Training Tutorial

    While some cows don't care at all what calf is sucking on their udders, many other cows are reluctant to allow any other calf to nurse but their own. What is very irritating is if you bought a dairy or dairy cross cow to be a nurse cow and she refuses to allow the other calves to nurse on her. Her udder may be swollen and hard with several gallons of milk, but she stubbornly refuses to give in, sometimes savagely kicking and head-butting the calves away. You may be tempted to call it quits,...
  • Signs of Calving

    A cow's gestation period is about nine months, just like a human's. However, just like humans, it is not unusual for a cow to have her baby seven to ten days on either side of her due date. When you are excitedly waiting for that calf, you can grasp on any small change at all and think, "This is it!" Adding to the uncertainty can be farmers that use bulls for breeding. When a farmer uses a bull, he knows the general time period when the bull was put in with the cows. However, unless he...
  • Why Keep a Nurse Cow?

    Over the years, our farm family has raised quite a few bottle calves. While bottle feeding a calf is fun at first, after a week or two, you can get really tired of heading to the barn twice a day to feed a calf. When we bought our Jersey cows, the plan was to treat them as home milkers and nurse cows. This would keep us from being tied to milking each day as well as helping the Jersey cows earn their keep by raising extra calves. If you are on the fence about keeping a milk cow as a nurse...
  1. Nurse Cow Training Tutorial

    While some cows don't care at all what calf is sucking on their udders, many other cows are reluctant to allow any other calf to nurse but their own. What is very irritating is if you bought a dairy or dairy cross cow to be a nurse cow and she refuses to allow the other calves to nurse on her. Her udder may be swollen and hard with several gallons of milk, but she stubbornly refuses to give in, sometimes savagely kicking and head-butting the calves away. You may be tempted to call it quits,...
  2. Why Keep a Nurse Cow?

    Over the years, our farm family has raised quite a few bottle calves. While bottle feeding a calf is fun at first, after a week or two, you can get really tired of heading to the barn twice a day to feed a calf. When we bought our Jersey cows, the plan was to treat them as home milkers and nurse cows. This would keep us from being tied to milking each day as well as helping the Jersey cows earn their keep by raising extra calves. If you are on the fence about keeping a milk cow as a nurse...
  3. Cold Weather Calving

    The winter of 2014 has been unusually severe. While we typically breed our cows so that calving will occur in fall or early winter, every now and then we end up with a cow dropping a calf in some really cold weather. For those who live in northern areas, this may be a normal thing, but for farmers who live in areas that don\'t get extremely cold for very long, calving in extreme cold can cost them a calf. With sale prices for cattle projected to reach record highs, every calf saved will put...
  4. Early Labor in a Cow

    When you are expecting calves, you should start monitoring your mama cows. If you are keeping an eye on them, you will know when labor starts, so if the birthing goes on too long, you can help the cow or call the vet. Not helping a cow in a timely manner can kill the calf. Additionally, when labor goes on longer than it should, it takes longer for a cow's reproductive tract to recover. This means that it will be longer before she cycles and is able to be bred back. However, for most cows,...
  5. Cow Breeding Options

    Since our beef herd calves in the fall, this week our family is starting the annual process of having our cows bred by artificial insemination (AI). The work isn't too hard, but it does take some time. However, we've not always used AI for breeding. Until about three or four years ago, we used a bull to breed our cows. I've had experience with keeping a bull and AI, and whether or not one or the other is best for your farm depends on a few things. Number of Cows We kept a bull for our herd...
  6. Signs of Calving

    A cow's gestation period is about nine months, just like a human's. However, just like humans, it is not unusual for a cow to have her baby seven to ten days on either side of her due date. When you are excitedly waiting for that calf, you can grasp on any small change at all and think, "This is it!" Adding to the uncertainty can be farmers that use bulls for breeding. When a farmer uses a bull, he knows the general time period when the bull was put in with the cows. However, unless he...
Loading...