We are getting geared up for one of the most exciting times of the year here at our farm – calving season! While most of our beef cows calved earlier this spring, almost all of our dairy cows will be calving in the next 4 months or so. For example, we have 11 babies due in June, 8 babies due in July, and another 11 due in August! You know what that means…..calf naming contests and lots of cute baby calf pics which I will be sharing on our farm Facebook page!
This sweet little Brown Swiss heifer was born several weeks ago to our heifer, Twitter. It’s fun to see how the times and technology start slowly affecting our cow names. 🙂 This little girl is long-legged and quite dainty. Her sire is the New Generation Genetics bull, Wonderment. One thing that I find completely irresistable about these babies is their HUGE ears. In this pic, one ear is stuck behind the gate. Must be hard having ears twice as wide as your head!
A few of our lovely cows and calves launched their modeling careers last month……in Iowa!
Erin, a college student that works for the Central Plains Dairy Association in Iowa, was given the task of decorating for a dairy producer dinner preceding the Central Plains Dairy Expo. Being a fan of our farm Facebook page, Erin contacted me to request permission to use some of my cow photos for her displays. I was happy to oblige since she was sweet enough to give me photo credit AND to promise to send me some pics of the end result. 🙂
Last week I got an email from her which included several pictures of the completed table decorations using some of our beautiful Brown Swiss cows’ photos. I thought she did a wonderful job! Thanks Erin, for your work in the dairy industry!
I had the pleasure of watching this beautiful little heifer being born on Monday, March 19th right before my husband and I left for the DFA Annual Meeting in Kansas City, MO. As I was packing for our trip that day, my husband called and asked me to check on our Holstein Chickadee who was in the process of calving. I have watched a few births in the past almost 2 years that we have been at the farm full-time, but this one was a little bit different. The mama seemed quite unaffected by the whole ordeal. She STOOD and munched on clover all but the last 5 seconds of pushing that baby out. Must have been some GOOD clover! It was a little bit concerning to watch because I wasn’t too anxious to watch a tiny newborn hit the ground! I was relieved to see the mama go down right before Cinderella slid the rest of the way out. ha ha!
My husband says I saved the baby’s life by taking time to watch the birth for him. I kept in communication with him and was able to get him there as soon as she was born to remove the birth sac that happened to be covering her nose and mouth. (In all reality HE saved her life, because I certainly would not have known what to do! ha ha) He had to work with her a minute to get her breathing which was so terrifying to watch. She was just a little lifeless, completely still little body until I heard her take her first breath. That was absolutely the most beautiful, joyful moment you can imagine!!!
We decided to name her Cinderella sticking with the “C” theme of her mama’s name. She is now 9 days old, eating good and playing hard!
Beef calving season is upon us here at Alpine Hills Dairy Farm. While our main focus is dairy cattle, we also have a number of beef cattle too. About a week ago one of our mama beef cows had a set of twins. As is common in situations like that, she decided to only take one of them. Too sad, I know! That left us with the delightful job (no sarcasm here) of raising her teeny tiny, super adorable other twin!
My heart melted the instant I saw her. How can you not instantly fall in love with something so tiny and helpless…..we estimate she weighed around 30 lbs at birth…..super tiny compared to our 100 lb dairy calves. As I approached her cage for the first time I expected her to stay curled up in a ball, but NO! The moment I got close, she jumped up and ran into the side of her pen trying to get away from me – all this at just a couple of hours old!!! Ha! It was truly amazing to witness the survival instinct that God has built into these little animals. As the days went on and we began bottle feeding her twice a day, she has calmed down and now runs to me instead of away from me. She guzzles down her bottles with no problem at all. At this rate, she won’t stay tiny for long!
I am by no means a football expert……let’s be honest, when I watch a football game the only part I really pay attention to is maybe the last two minutes! In spite of that I do know enough to realize that the Superbowl is over, that Tim Tebow didn’t play in it, etc…..but at our farm it’s still Tebow Time!
This handsome Brown Swiss bull was born to our cow Timeless (here’s a photo of her winning 1st Place 5 year old at the KY State Fair in 2011) a couple of weeks ago. His sire is the NGG bull, Brookings. While we wouldn’t have cried if he would have been born a girl (ha ha!) we are still excited to have such a handsome young bull with great genetics at our farm to raise up as our future herd bull. Keeping with the “T” theme of his mother’s name, we decided the that name Tebow would be quite perfect for him. We would be thrilled if he became even half as famous as his namesake one day. I mean, there are some similarities……big, strong, and STUBBORN…….
I have experienced his stubbornness head on. This calf was so big and strong when he was born that it’s hard to believe that he didn’t beat Timeless to death while she was pregnant with him! Teaching him to nurse from a bottle was quite a challenge for the first few days of his life. He wanted that milk sooooo bad, but he couldn’t figure out how to get it in his belly, so he basically just slammed himself into the person trying to feed him, hoping that he’d get milk somehow! I fed him a few times during these few days before he figured things out and it was the hardest workout of my life. Try wrestling an incredibly strong, insanely energetic 115-120 pound bull calf sometime – it’s an experience you’ll never forget! In the end though, I’m proud to say that these wrestling matches (aka “feeding time”) resulted in a score of TEBOW = 0 SHELLEY = 1. I won! 🙂
It didn’t take long for Tebow to get the bottle-feeding thing down. Within a few days he was drinking like a champ without beating me up in the process. I love my job.
I first started doing Calf Naming Contests on our Facebook Page almost 2 years ago! They have always gone over very well and we’ve consistently seen a great response! It’s always so fun for me to watch as all the great name ideas come pouring in for our cute little calves!
Today I am excited to announce a Naming Contest for this adorable Holstein heifer! We are asking for names beginning with the letter “I” for this one. 🙂 You can submit your name ideas here on the blog, or on our Facebook page through Wednesday, February 8th!!! Thanks for your participation!
Diagnostic Labs, Cute Calf, and Tim Tebow……yes, RANDOM, I know! That was my Saturday though.
Saturday morning my husband and I traveled an hour to Lexington, KY for a Young Dairy Producer Field Day at the University of Kentucky. We had a nice time visiting with other dairy farmers and learning about the research that UK is doing on their dairy farm. Everything was going just great until they wanted to give us a tour of their Diagnostic Lab. I don’t do well with that kind of stuff and was already feeling faint as we walked into the building! Thankfully, my sweet husband was in tune to my fears and protected me from seeing anything gross! I’m glad the lab is in existence and I’m thankful for the work they do, BUT I’d rather not see it! LOL. Anyway, it was another great learning experience for me in the world of dairy. 🙂
After our visit at UK we stopped and visited Matt’s sister at her vet clinic in Shelbyville, KY. I had visited her there about a year and half ago, but Matt realized he’d never been to her clinic before! Melissa gave us a little tour of her clinic (which I handled just fine compared to the Diagnostic Lab earlier in the day!). Then we headed on to visit another dairy farm where Matt was going to check out some heifers that were for sale. While we were there I saw the CUTEST little Holstein heifer that had a marking on her head that looked just like a bow. Had to capture a picture of that…….
Obviously we did a lot of driving on Saturday! I was thankful for the Tim Tebow book “Through My Eyes” that my parents bought Matt for Christmas to help the drive time pass more quickly. As is customary for us, I read aloud while Matt drove. What a great book! My husband and I were discussing Tim Tebow’s single status and I commented that no wonder he was still single as busy as he is. It takes a lot of time and effort to woo a woman! Matt responded with, “Well maybe not so much when you’re Tim Tebow!” Ha ha. Good point. We are learning a lot from the book…..things we never fully understood, like the insane amount of work it took (from a very young age) to get to where he has gotten. Without hard work, his talent would have been nothing. A great reminder for all of us on the power of hard work!