While my University of Illinois counterparts are migrating towards beaches, tans, water, and warmer places this farm girl is going home for a week and a half of hardwork and fun in 80 degree Illinois. And while I wouldn’t mind being at the beach, my heart is glad I’m right here at home. So what have I been up to you ask?
Yesterday I arrived home about 8 am after unloading my stuff I called dad to let him know I was home, he instantly told me to head to the farm to help wean some early fall calves. So I went to the farm we call the ranch and helped sort out 15 calves to wean. By weaning I mean that the calves had reached an age, usually 5-6months, we they need to be separated off of their mother to begin their “adult” life. The mother needs the time to “dry up” or quit milk production in order to maintain herself back to an appropriate body composition so she can be rebred and have another baby in 9 months. When a cow has a calf it will sacrifice its own health and nutrients to provide for a calf so she needs type to rebuild her nutrient stores.
Once we sorted off the calves we brought them home to process. Process means we run each one through a working chute were we poured them to prevent lice, gave them booster shots to prevent sickness and check tattoo numbers. When then look in our record books to make sure they were recorded and move them to the scale where a weight and hip height is recorded. They were then separated into pens depending on sex and will stay with that group until further notice.
After we finished with the calves I had to run home and do some homework and attend an online class. After lunch I helped dad fix a piece on his field cultivator and took a look inside the fancy new versatile tractor he had brought home. In the afternoon my mom and I had a much need girl pampering session. (yes, I know what your thinking, you just said u were working hard but you went and got pampered, just wait!)
Upon returning home from this dad told me I needed to go get Sarah’s old show heifer and take down to end pen in show barn as she was getting close to calving. Lucky for mom and I she was in the farthest corner of the corn stalk field. A two mile plus walk later her pregnant self was in the barn where I proceeded to put a halter on her and lead her down to the other barn.
Just when we thought our walking was done we had to go to another field to check on a cow dad thought was calving. Little did we realize how many different areas this group of 43 cows and 6 babies could cover. We finally found all the cows and babies however a cow different from what we were looking for was acting funny and most definitely in labor. I called sad and he came home and him and I set back out into the field. Mind you at this point it was starting to storm. Dad decided there was an issue and so I proceeded to walk this past show heifer up to the barn so we could get a better idea. Once dad was able to get a “hand on things” he realized the calf was upside down. After several minutes of working he got the calf flipped, my uncle brought the pulling equipment and the three of us assisted in a beautiful heifer calf.
Today is the second day of spring break and it has started off with morning chores, feeding of the cows, double checking the new born baby, doctoring to sick babies, and now on to the wonderful task of building fence. Who knows what else might happen…So back to an earlier statement… Yes, yes I did get my nails done for this!