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  • Kendra R. Shatswell

Fall Calving Season has Begun!

Fall calving season has started! I own a small herd of beef cattle, mostly crosses. I bought two half LonghornXCorriente and half Angus heifers from a friend - the momma was an ex-roping heifer. I've had them a few years now, and kept a couple heifers out of them, too. I really love these crosses. In my experience, they're the best of both worlds - the good udder and feet and rich milk from the LonghornXCorriente and the BEEF from crossing them back to beef breed bulls (They've been bred to Angus bulls, a horned Hereford, and a GelbviehXHereford). I also thought it was interesting that I've never had one of these crosses get pinkeye. I get about a 50/50 split between wild-marked calves and solid calves.

On Wednesday, me and Dad didn't get much work done. Because we went to check the heifers, and I found my first-calf heifer Schmidt here (shown as a youngster) with The Look and her tail kinked out. Calving was imminent.

Well, sorta.

Heifers are a touch dramatic. Most of them have to do a whole lot of walking with big bug eyes trying to find the Perfect Calving Spot.

Sometimes, when they have a big contraction or their water breaks, they wheel around sure that they just popped out a calf.

Schmidt finally found her a the road *sigh* but anyway, she didn't seem to be in distress but wasn't doing much either.

We went back to Mom and Dad's to get the chains and pullers, just in case.

She had JUST had the calf when we got back. It was sopping wet. I walked up to check it and momma, and Schmidt was licking away. Licking the dirt where the calf had dropped instead of the actual calf, bless her heart. The calf tried to stand and face-planted, which triggered Schmidt to do the licking but this time you know, on the newborn calf. Good job, Schmidty!

We went to work for a few hours. Came back and walked the pair away from the road a bit, in case a newborn calf close to the fence was too big of a temptation to some jackass of the Loser Human persuasion (we've had it happen).

The spotted little heifer had nursed, and Schmidt was doing an excellent job. Well, today, Pa got a-hold of us when we were *almost* finished for the day and said the calf was out of the pasture and under the sweet cherry tree in his garden. We hurried to get the little goofball back in.

You see, calves, especially newborns, can get the Dumbs when they get scared and just run plumb off.

We pulled up and there's little spotted troublemaker lying flat out in the shade of the cherry tree, just relaxing. I got close to her though, and she got up quick, ready to bolt...definitely experiencing the onset of the Dumbs. I eased around her, opened a nearby gate, and Dad eased her through.

Schmidt was nearby and knew where the little stinker was and met her around the pond bank.

Spotty baby had a quick snack (look at all that milk!) and the pair went along their merry way.

Fun fact - little whatever-her-name-will-be is only 1/8th Longhorn and Corriente. That's it. But those spots sure are persistent, sometimes! A solid red heifer that lost her first calf calved on Sunday morning. I was very tickled that she had no trouble and her and her calf were healthy. Plus, her udder looks good. I haven't got to see if it is a heifer or bull calf yet, but it was solid black. Seeing a healthy newborn trailing alongside a healthy momma is the best feeling. Now, little spotty here needs a name because I may just have to keep her.


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