Benchmarks

This year has already been full of firsts here at G&B Ranch.

The double digit below zero temps meant we had to bring newly born calves into our calf warming area in the basement.  We have always had this area ready to go every calving season, but never have had to use it.  Four calves ended up rotating inside to get warmed while their fur dried.

A cow calved breach.  We are thankful for low birth weights on that one.  She managed to have him with only a gentle hand pull assistance from me.  His hair is still all facing the wrong way, but seems no worse for the way he entered into the world.

An awesome item we just installed is a calving barn camera.  It even has sound so we can talk back and forth.  I don't mean the husband and I, I mean the cows can talk to me and I can encourage them.  I am watching Stash with Stitch right now peacefully napping.  Charlotte is up next and pacing in and out of one of the stalls trying to decide whether she should eat or have a baby.

The next item to check off our list is embryo transplants.  This is a dream of mine since assisting with ET in junior high.  Callie did great.  It is nice to hear from the vet your cows are always welcome at his place because they are so easy to handle.   Ester is being flushed this weekend.  We have plenty of fertile commercial mommas waiting to take on their embryos.  Exciting to think about having a bunch of Callie and Ester calves running about in 2018!

We are also blessed with a few heifers so far this calving season which will extend our GB lines several dams deep.  It is great to feel like we are building our own style into a great set of cows.

Another first for this calving season was losing a calf.  We knew it was inevitable, but hoped we could hold it off another year.  Wilma was on my radar, but I missed checking her.  I came out to feed and saw she had a stillborn calf just before my arrival on scene.  Wilma, being a heifer, did not really know what had happened.  It took her about 10 days to sort it out.  She even went through a time where she was clearly depressed.  Fortunately, she has returned to her normal self.  Unfortunately, she has plenty of spare time to think of stuff to do, most of which is not constructive.  Idle hooves...

Speaking of idle time, I have very little these days!   Be sure to check in on our Midland Bull Test bulls tag numbers 608 and 609.   Cheers

Happy Holidays

I am so thankful the temperatures have moderated from the below zero, whisker-freezing, not calf- friendly December we were having so far.  I hate to jinx anything, but our geo-thermal waterers have been acting as advertised!  Unfortunately, we outgrew our covered hay storage this year so that means dealing with frozen and snowy tarps.  Who needs P90X when you have a haystack for a nemesis?

Some of the early calving ladies are looking pretty miserable as they creep around on the frozen ground between the straw, the water and the food.  I can see and feel their babies rippling around their sides, which is one of my favorite things in the world.  Soon I will get the all the Christmas presents I have been waiting 9 months for!  Callie is off making some pre-made babies for us and Ester will get her turn next.

It is great to hear all the cows and bulls we have sold are doing well and making us proud. Our pen of weanling heifers is something we are truly excited about and I can hardly wait to AI them this Spring.  Oh and we did end up picking a different AI sire for them (see post below).

Merry Christmas to everyone.  We sure have a lot to be thankful for here at G&B Ranch.  The very first thing on the list is our family and friends who have been there every step of the way to support,  give us guidance, and offer us great opportunities.  Thank You!

Cheers

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Everyone is finally home.

It is that super fun time of year where we have everyone home.  If we are not out feeding at daybreak, the alarm clocks start going off.  Wilma and Amanda will be first up and they are getting ready to go.  Wilma is getting cankles already and we are wondering if she will make it to her January 1st due date or surprise us with a Christmas calf.  I can already feel it on her side and she does not seem to mind extra scratching. 

This year we were able to purchase some elite cows and add another bull to our lineup.  At least two cows will be going into our donor program.  In true ironic fashion, one of the AI sires I picked just had a son sell for $235,000 yesterday.  I am sure his semen will be getting difficult to find very soon.

We sent Ragnar and Cap to Midland in October.  So far, so good.  We are looking forward to seeing their growth through the winter.

Alright, back to work...

Yes, everyone is named!

To those who ask why, I ask why not?  It is a lot easier for us to remember an animal if we name them.  For the cows, we have related names for daughters.  For example, our Chiquita cow has a heifer named Banana and Sunday has a heifer named Monday.  These cows will live a very long time with us.  The name association enables us to more easily remember their lineage without having to look at their papers.  The bull calves get more random names since they will not stay around as long.  For my husband's sake, I try to keep it simple; Patches since he has patches on his eyes or Notch because his ear is notched.  We also use familial names for loved ones who are watching our herd from heaven.  :-) 

 A sleeping Banana.   It is not very often you can catch a calf dozing!

A sleeping Banana.   It is not very often you can catch a calf dozing!