baby cows

When you come to the farm… and, you will… it is likely you won’t make it in the front door for the first 30 minutes. Your tour guide, Rylie, will meet you on the bottom step and immediately take you around back to see the baby cows. After the cows, you’ll be taken to meet The Boys (who you met Monday) and, of course, the chickens.

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Here’s Lucky looking at you. He’s one of The Boys in the front pen. People always want to know if their horns can break, and the answer is absolutely. It doesn’t happen a lot, but it does happen. They get caught between fences or in trailer slats. They’ve even been known to snap due to being frozen in really harsh winters. We’re not sure what happened with Lucky, but earlier this summer, he lost about 3 inches off that right horn. Horns are made out of keratin (same as your fingernails) and are full of blood vessels. When you come visit and pet Wooster, you’ll notice his head is warm because his horns are growing so much in such a short period of time. Horns grow throughout their life, but the most before age 7 and exponentially between age 1 to age 3- maybe 2 to 3 inches PER MONTH.

Anyway, Lucky is fine. Just fine. The other boys give him a hard time about his short right horn, but he doesn’t care.

Back to the baby cows. Here in Michigan, we try to plan for our baby cows to arrive after April and before October. Longhorns take 9 months to have a baby (easy to remember), so we breed in the summer. Having babies in spring allows calves to be born in decent weather, and it also allows them to be weaned before winter. We want both mammas and babies on their own by winter, growing a nice winter coat and eating independently. So, babies come in April! May! June! There should be a new one out there right now. I need to go check. Miss Rain’s water broke last night, so I’m thinking there’s four new legs on the ground this morning.

Longhorns are born at about 40 pounds, which is easily half the size of any other breed these days. They’re old-fashioned that way, and modest. I’ve only seen one calf being born and that was because I had binoculars. Usually, the moms take a long walk and come back an hour later with a baby. No messing around. There is almost zero human assistance in the birth unless there’s a serious problem… like a breech (which Miss Bonnie had last year and still did just fine). I managed to catch Tempest having Thunder this year. It was awesome.

Here’s our “crop” for 2013:

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Fancy Pants, Jitterbug, Thunder (bull calf), Purdy Spunky, Tex (bull calf), Sugar Baby

That’s Thunder’s mamma, Tempest, in the background grazing.

The only calf missing here is Girl Scout, who is below.

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Here’s Girl Scout (out of Miss Bonnie) at birth (May) and then last week (September). In 4 months, she’s doubled in size and completely changed her coloring. LONGHORNS ARE FUN, People. Girl Scout is my favorite.

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Here’s a close-up of Sugar Baby and Tex. Sugar Baby was born in May and Tex is our youngest- born in July. There’s only 2 months difference between the two of them, but- in Tex’s defense- Sugar Baby is going to be an absolutely enormous beast of a cow. Not really a fair comparison… but he’s just so darn cute. See his little button of horns starting to show?

If you’re keeping count, that’s 5 heifers and 2 bull calves for this year… a great ratio for us! We usually ALWAYS HAVE BOYS, which has been awesome for selling beef but not so much for the whole ‘growing your herd’ part of being breeders. So, this year was extra fun. We still have 2 calves yet to go… Rain, who’s in labor right now, and Belinda, who’s due at the end of October.

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I’ll leave you with a quick shot of The Boys coming in for their evening snack.

Nobody eats in peace at this place.

Nobody.

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About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

5 responses to “baby cows

  • Emily

    I am so fascinated at a mamma just going for a walk by herself and coming back with a baby. I wish I could have been as dignified as a cow when I was in labor.
    That’s how embarrassing I am. I strive to be like livestock.

    • texasnorth

      Oh, trust me I do too, Em. Seriously. These mammas are crazy good. I wouldn’t have even known Tempest was in labor if I didn’t see her sort of stand there for “an extra long period of time.” She was cool as a cucumber. Pushed for a couple minutes, then walked into the woods, laid down for about 10 minutes, pushed out Thunder, and stood back up again. RIDICULOUS. And, they know it. Every time I look at Sugar, I swear she’s rolling her eyes at me. “Whiny human.”

      Katie Mulder http://www.texasnorth.com

  • Annie Mulder

    I have been looking forward to this baby cow post all week! It didn’t disappoint. Thanks for sharing your beautiful herd with us!

  • xmomof2

    So cute. I especially like the ending. Its so true … in any household. No peace in eating dinner. Right now my son is still whining about having grilled chicken because “Its DISGUSTING” ….. I happen to think its rather tasty – and the cows approve of our dinner too.

  • Shelly V.

    What an education. Very interesting. And it makes me want to raise some farm animals although I know that is naive. There’s a lot to it, but you make it look so fun. If I get any, I am holding you responsible though. 😉

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