……..yes, we have many, many calves due to be born in the coming months BUT, I happen to be referring to HUMAN baby time! It’s true, my husband and I are expecting our first child, a little girl, sometime in the next 2 -4 weeks!
Pregnancy has slowed me down quite a bit – hence my disappearence from this blog! Thought I’d take a few minutes to update before life gets REALLY crazy once baby arrives.
Things are going great at the farm. We’ve got 35 acres of our corn planted (about half done) and we just mowed our first cutting of hay. Beef calving season is pretty much over, but most of our dairy calves are due to be born in July, August, and September this year. The guys are keeping super busy caring for all our dairy cows – we’ve been milking a record number of at least 70…..though we’ve started drying off a number of them in the past month as they prepare for the birth of their calves (they get the last two months of their pregnancy off …….pre-maternity leave of sorts.) 🙂
We are hosting Country Pumpkins at our farm again this fall! We’ve been in the planning stages since January and are getting really excited about all the fun times ahead. We were blessed with a wonderful 2012 season and hope to continue to build on that growth. Can’t make any formal announcements YET, but we’ve got several FREE Special Events in the works that will be scattered throughout our September 13 – November 3rd season. I’ve been working on updating our brochures, flyers, and website to get a head start before the baby comes.
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!