32 degrees Farenheit, rain, turning to sleet, turning to snow. We only had to bring two calves into the barn to warm up. One was born weak. One was born in a ditch, and unable to get out of it. The other newborns who got a belly full of milk were ok out in the pasture.
The calves who are too cold and weak to nurse, we stick an esophageal tube down their throat and give them a product called Colostrx Plus. It helps them get going.
Next we have to get their mothers into the corral. This is where the ATVs are indispensable. A few years ago we had a freak April snowstorm and had to bring four calves into the barn. We only had one four-wheel drive ATV and a two-wheel drive ATV. The two-wheel drive ATV was worthless in the heavy, wet snow. I had to walk. I put in quite a few miles, slipping and sliding up and down the hills of our calving pasture. We were able to get three cows in, but couldn’t get the fourth.
Now we have two, four-wheel drive ATVs, pictured. It took about a half hour to get the two cows into the corral. We put a cow into the catch-chute, and then help her calf nurse.
April is usually not this cold, but it’s important to remember it can be, which is difficult to do in mid-June when the weather is beautiful and the bulls are itching to breed. I wrote up a contract one April and signed it. “No bulls will be turned out for breeding before the 1st of July.”
I haven’t broken the contract, and the Matthew of late March, early April, is always grateful.