Time for the ‘A’ cows to go

It’s funny how calving goes. We start off by counting how many we’ve got (“I have 10, 15, 25, etc.”), then there is some point that it changes and we just talk about how many are left to arrive.
I am down to nine (ahh, I can just feel a full night of sleep coming).
I really cannot complain since my first calf only came on Valentine’s Day, but I was getting up at night long before that!
On Friday night, my only mean cow finally calved (she really isn’t my cow, she is my cousin’s).
She is just plain MISERABLE! Since coming from southern Ontario to live with us, she has tried to kill us at calving every year since. One year she ran right over my Grandma (luckily the snow was deep).
I had the crabby thing (“Alice” is her name) in the barn because I was worried about walking around in the middle of the night and stumbling onto her and a new calf—and I knew I wouldn’t be able to get away from her when I was barely awake.
I left for the 4-H banquet and was pretty sure she was going to calve since she was pretty much crawling the walls. We returned from the banquet and checked the camera—no calf—but she definitely was calving.
I stalled a bit, then decided I’d better go and check on the others. When I went into the barn, she had two feet and a nose coming so all was fine (good thing because the chance of helping her is slim to none).
Outside I went to check the other girls—all seemed fine. Back into the barn–the calf was half out.
Out it came, but it wasn’t breathing all that well so I thought I would try and lift his head up with my fork (I was too scared to get too close). Most of my cows you could have a party in the pen when they are calving, but not so with Alice.
So I was trying to prop his head up and up Alice popped. Within two seconds, she ran right over her calf just to try and get to me. I slammed the stall door shut as Alice hit it (I couldn’t believe that she would run over her own calf just to get to me—the hand that feeds her!)
It makes things hard because once the calves are born, there are a few things that need to be done. They get a shot of vitamin A & D and E-Selenium, and get weighed. If they are a bull, they get an elastic ring so they become a steer.
And then they get their numerous ear tags (they look like a Christmas tree and I hate putting them in).
Why I say numerous is that all our cattle have to have a “computer chip” tag in their ear, which can be scanned pretty much the same as your groceries are scanned at the store.
These tags are small and there is no room for you to put your management information on them. This varies from farm to farm but at my place, they get a number and year letter (which is ‘W’ for 2009) and then I put the mom’s name on the top and the calf’s name on the bottom.
Now if you had 500 cows, you wouldn’t be naming them, but I still do. So you can see why having a crabby cow makes the job a bit tougher.
I am not the only farmer left naming my cattle, but I do it a bit different. Most name them according to the year letter, so ‘W’ for 2009 would give you ‘W’ names like Wilma and William.
My Grandma always named them according to the first initial of the cow’s name—and I have carried on this tradition. So Canada had Cale, Darla had Dash, and now Alice had Alex, etc.
But since the crabbiness of these ‘A’ cows seems to be inherited on down the lines, I think the ‘A’ cows need to make a trip on a bus.
• • •
You might remember from my first article that I mentioned I likely would tick someone off, but I was going to give this column a try. And in my first article, I spoke about my girlfriend and her kids’ Christmas trip and the things that had went wrong.
Well, her daughter was the first one to be ticked at me (she didn’t like that I had told about their mishaps). I apologized to her, and reassured that people didn’t know it was her because I didn’t say her name.
So I was on the phone with her mom this past weekend and she was explaining some stuff her daughter had going on–and I could hear her in the background saying “Who is it, I don’t want everyone to know.”
Poor girl, she was stressed that I am going to write about her again.
We had my parents over for supper Saturday night and I heard my dad telling something to my boyfriend/partner. Then he said, “I don’t want to say much because Kimmie will likely write about it in the paper.”
I promised my friends I would try to be nice, but I can resist telling you about my parents.
• • •
I didn’t have the niece visit this weekend as her family was busy moving into their new house. But they are spending the March Break out here, so we should have some good stories to share after that.

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