New Feature: A Year in the Life…

Happy National Agriculture Day!
Today I’d like to introduce you to a couple of young ladies I’m going to feature throughout the next year or so. My hope is to give an inside look into the first year of heifer calves on our operation. I chose a crossbred and a purebred to highlight some of the differences and similarities in how we manage those different groups.
This is 411. She was born on February 26th, and came into this world backwards, thus requiring a little human assistance!

  

Her mom is 919, a 5-year-old cow who is ¾ Red Angus and ¼ Hereford. 411’s sire is a Hereford bull we called Dozer (he’s the bull I’m scratching in this blog’s profile picture). This combination means that 411 is 5/8 Hereford and 3/8 Red Angus. 411 was conceived via artificial insemination, or AI – and I was the technician.
We use orange tags to signify Hereford-sired calves, and the “D” tells us Dozer is her daddy. We use (or start with) 3-digit numbers for our crossbred calves and the first number signifies the year. So, 411 was the 11th crossbred calf born in 2014.
This is 4005. She’s got quite a little sass.
She was born on March 3rd to 6017, an 8-year-old Hereford cow. Her sire is a Hereford bull we call Cowboy, and she was also conceived via AI – and I was the technician (there’s a theme here).
We use green tags for Cowboy-sired calves and use 4-digit numbers for our Hereford calves. So 4005 was the 5th Hereford calf born in 2014.
I’m excited to bring you updates through the year as these heifers grow up!
Yours in travel,

The Asphalt Cowgirl

“Now our windshield’s a painting that hangs in our room, It changes each mile like the radio tune” —Rodeo Moon, Chris Ledoux

Adoptions in the Bovine World

Hello readers! I hope your Saint Patrick’s Day treated you well! Mine was spent back in the office after a week at the ranch for my annual spring break calving vacation. The cows obliged by keeping me very busy, and about two-thirds of them have calved already!
We’ve had two sets of twins so far. At our outfit, twins are always named. You can check out some of the names from past years here and here.
The first set was born to a 3-year-old cow we call Nancy, because her mother was called Fancy. Of course, the calves – both heifers – needed names in this vein, so they are Chancy and Francie.

The second set was born to a 4-year-old cow, number 0212. These calves, also heifers, were sired by a bull we call Duke, so I christened them with the duchess names of Kate and Fergie.
Two other cows had calves that were born dead, so we set about the task of assisting with some bovine adoptions…probably more commonly known as grafting. It can be done a variety of ways, but here’s how we do it. The more aggressive twin is selected to be the adopted calf and penned away from their dam for a couple hours to get a little hungry. Meanwhile, the pelt of the dead calf is skinned and will be put on the adopted calf like a coat. The most critical part of this process is for the rear end of the calf to be covered with the pelt. We help the calf nurse their new mom in the chute to keep us all safe. Then the cow and calf are put in a small pen together and the magic (hopefully) happens!
Ideally, while the calf is nursing the new mom, she turns her head to smell the pelt and is convinced that this is her calf. Usually the pelt can be removed in a day or less. Using the dead calf’s pelt may seem like a strange practice, but I think it’s kind of similar to organ donation in a way.
I’m pleased to report that both grafts were successful! Here is Fergie with her new mom, number 1105.
And here is Chancy with her new mom, number 02.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into the bovine adoption process on our ranch. In the coming weeks, I’m going to start a new series that will follow two different heifer calves throughout the year!
Yours in travel,

The Asphalt Cowgirl

“Now our windshield’s a painting that hangs in our room, It changes each mile like the radio tune” —Rodeo Moon, Chris Ledoux

Little Widget Has Calved!!

The much-anticipated event has occurred. Little Widget has calved! She had a heifer calf today and both mom and baby are doing very well.



You can read more about the history of this little cow here.

I’m in the middle of my annual spring break calving vacation – more to come in the next weeks.

Yours in travel,
The Asphalt Cowgirl



“Now our windshield’s a painting that hangs in our room, It changes each mile like the radio tune” —Rodeo Moon, Chris Ledoux