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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Calving Season

Hello everybody! My name is Jacob Hagenmaier, and I am a veterinary medicine student at Kansas State University. I am very passionate about providing a safe, wholesome food supply as well as the great stories people involved in agriculture have to tell. One such story is calving season. Right now is the end of our spring break, and while many students across the nation spent the last week enjoying sandy beaches or snow covered mountains as the perfect getaway, my break was spent in the beautiful Flint Hills of Northeast Kansas on our family ranch. March is a busy time for many ranchers, because that is when their cows are due to calve. Calving season varies within different operations, but early fall and spring tend to be the most common. Calving season is a very intense and strenuous time for cattle ranchers. Some nights, not a wink is spent sleeping due to continually checking on the pregnant females and assisting with births if needed. Still, calving season is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling parts of being involved in beef production. All the hard work spent feeding, delivering calves, putting down straw for bedding, and monitoring herd health is well worth it to see newborn calves bursting with energy and ready to go to grass around May!

Since our herd consist of predominately cattle that are 100% black, I get especially excited to see a calf born with a little bit of color.  The bull calf pictured above tends to be my favorite this year because of the "Joker-like" face pattern -- google "Joker from Batman" and you'll see what I mean! Within 12 hours of birth, all calves on our operation are given a shot that contains minerals to boost their immune system, a pill with antibodies against causes of scours (Bovine term for diarrhea), and a tag which identifies their mother. Around mid April to the first of May, the newborn calves and their mothers will be taken to pasture to feast on the fresh grass that comes with spring.

That's all for now... I better get back to studying :/


1 comment:

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