Barn camera should help at calving time

By Kim Jo Bliss
Special to the Times
Here we are–back in the deep freeze!
I keep hearing that we are having a good old-fashioned winter. Well, since I am more modern, I would rather it be a bit warmer.
Last week started off with a bit of bad news. I went out to do my morning chores and spotted some blood in the snow. I then went searching for victim.
I found out my lone black cow, “Rosie,” had aborted a calf. It was in almost covered up in the hay pile.
Rosie was one of the cows I expected to calve in my first week, but this was about three weeks too early—and it came out dead. So something went wrong. That is a tough one to figure out but as a farmer, though, you tend to go over a million scenarios in your head and it is usually when you should be sleeping.
I decided I would bring Rosie in for some respite care (and I wanted to try out my new barn camera!) Rosie didn’t even know she had calved, so I had to chase her around the barnyard about four times (boy the snow is darn deep) before she realized that I wanted her to go in the barn.
Once when I was a kid, we had a cow abort a twin and then she went on to have a live calf some time later, so I was kind of hoping for this scenario.
Rosie settled into the barn nicely and enjoyed her time of TLC. I had to adjust the camera a few times for that particular pen and then I enjoyed watching her.
She would eat, sleep, and then she would look around the entire pen, out the windows, and directly into the camera. This (to me) was better than most everything on TV—this was really “reality TV.”
I left her in for two nights and then sent her on her way to join the rest of girls. I’m still hoping she has another calf, but I best not hold my breath.
As for the camera, this was a gift for my birthday from my boyfriend (or partner as my friends tell me–they say I am too old to call him my boyfriend). No, the camera will not help me for those cows that are outside trying to sneak around to pop out a calf, but it will be great for the ones that are calving and you have them in the barn.
Instead of making a dozen trips to the barn to see how things are going and disturbing them every time, I will be able to just watch right from the house. It also is infra-red so I don’t have to leave the lights on!
We set it up this fall and spent a few nights trying to watch for the cat, but she stayed out of our view. Once we thought somebody was in the barn because we could hear someone talking—and then we remembered the radio was on!
Many of my friends are getting calves daily now. This is my last week of normal sleep and then it’s up every two hours of so. On some of these minus-30 and minus-40 nights, the cows need to be checked every hour as those little wet creatures would never make it.
So if you think we are awfully crabby during these next couple of months, you understand why!
In other news, last week was our annual cattlemen’s meeting. It was a great meeting with some excellent speakers. It was the first time in many years that it wasn’t the coldest night in January (we are famous for this).
The Ontario Cattlemen’s Association speaker was Jim Martin, who is from Gore Bay. Jim came to my place for coffee the next morning and pointed out to me that he has travelled to various communities and he is very impressed with all that we are doing here in Rainy River District.
So, despite the fact we are going through some tough times, it is nice to hear that others recognize that we’re trying to move ourselves forward!

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