Calving Time

Viking, Minnesota

Rural Reflections Radio

I don’t know anyone who thinks of baseball in the spring. I know that’s what a young man’s mind is supposed to turn to at this time of the year but I only know of one spring activity-Calving Time.

Since late February sleep has been something other people enjoy. I’ve spoke to a neighbor and my brother and it’s currently raining little calves. This is a fun time of year. This is an anxious time of year. I love watching a cow and her calf as she nuzzles him along on a sunny spring day. I hate watching a cow pace the fenceline looking for a calf born dead. Calving time requires hard work but demands passion. Passion for the animals and for this life fuels your hard work and helps keep your knees high in deep mud. You even get to be a hero. Quick, good decisions and resourcefulness sometimes decide life or death for a cow or calf.


Before birth, a cow will find a spot by herself and may act a little anxious. She may not show up for hay before calving and her bag is ripe as a melon. I’d like to say she finds a nice spot with plenty of straw but most likely she locates the nearest snowdrift in which to calve. A heifer is calving for the first time so it take a little longer. It’s tough to let her work because you want to help. Cow’s normally give birth more quickly and are a little more pragmatic. I saw one of mine lay down to calve only to realize I was feeding corn. She stopped her labor, literally ran to the trough, knocked a few others out of the way and ate. Two minutes later a newborn was laying by her side. That’s the kind of cow that makes you feel like buying a few more.

I must confess that I calve in the Fall so most of my information comes from others anecdotes. I know others are calving right now and are probably getting a little worn-out. Take heart! You are doing something most will never get a chance to and worse yet they don’t even realize what they’re missing. Let’s get those calves on the ground!