Friday, August 15, 2008

Buns in the Ovens

It's official...we're expecting two calves this fall/winter! We had the vet out today to palpitate both girls (i.e. pregnancy test by sticking his arm, um, yeah), and both are pregnant!

Bridgit is about 7 months along (so due in October or so), and Sheila, surprisingly, is only about 4 months along, he thought (due in December/January). The latter is surprising because it doesn't jive with Sheila's accidental pasture exposure in February when the breeder's fence blew down and the whole herd decided to have a party. If that were the case, she'd be more like 6 months along. So, either she found herself a beau in March or April (and please, God, let it have been a Highland), or she's carrying a really small calf. Either way, we feel relieved and blessed, as for either or both girls to have not been pregnant would have been a great disappointment.

We learned a few key things during this vet visit:

  1. 1" x 4" boards break very, very easily when exposed to a freaked out heifer.
  2. Bridgit can jump like nobody's business...and will!
  3. Halter-broken doesn't mean the same thing to all people (our girls don't really qualify as "broken" in the vet's eyes).
  4. Containment is KEY, and these cows, no matter how docile while being combed, will destroy their surroundings when pressed.
We also learned we need to let both girls eat as much hay as they want at this point, and need to also supplement the hay with grain during the winter. The vet recommends we do what we need to do to keep both girls at their current body conditions so that they are nice and strong for calving and nursing.

Calving will bring yet another learning curve for Paul and me (and for Bridgit, too, given this will be her first calf), but thankfully we have a couple months before we need to panic. There's a chance Bridgit might have trouble calving because she's "narrow" in the pelvis. We'll cross that bridge when we get there. In the meantime, we'll be doing our best to learn what we need to learn and buy the equipment we need to have on hand to make sure things go smoothly.


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