Thursday, March 1, 2012

So, How is Calving Season Going?

 We are often asked this question by many people this time of year.  February is our busiest month for calving. How busy?  34 calves were born during the previous 10 days!  For some very large farms that is no big deal but for a Mom & Pop sized dairy we can tell you it was busy!
        So how is it going this year?  Remarkably well for many reasons…

1.  Weather - The weather has been wonderful.  No snow, not cold and relatively dry weather leads to minimal stress on the babies. No risk of frost bite to the cow’s teats, and an easier work load for the caretakers. 
February 2010
February 2012
2.  Male:Female ratio - While we are happy to get a healthy, live calf at St. Brigid’s Farm the girls (heifers) are preferred because they are the future producers of milk that is the mainstay of our operation.  Last year we had 59% bullsL.  This year the heifers are out numbering the bulls 31 to 20!
3.  Nutrition - Last harvest season we stored some very high quality forage.  This coupled with a new feed delivery system enables us to more accurately deliver the prescribed diet to the pre calving cows as well as the milking cows which leads to healthier cows at a very critical time.
4.  Labor – In January we hired a full time worker to replace numerous dedicated part time employees who moved on last year.  Mike Vanhorn has been a welcome addition to our staff and has done a fine job raising over 50 baby calves born so far this season.

5.  Nurse cows - Three cows were designated as nurse cows to each raise 3-4 veal calves.  They are wonderful mothers and have taken to their foster calves quite well.

We are thankful it has been a great calving season but we are not done yet.  Thirty more cows are due in the next three weeks.

Active Labor