11450 353rd AvenueLeola, SD 57456Office: (605) 439-3628
Craig & Peggy: (605) 439-3545 Email: office@bieberrdangus.com
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Calving here at Bieber Red Angus
Calving 2013

Whew, March is almost over. We have yet to see some proper spring weather, but we did have a lot going on this past March. We started the month out with our March Production sale, and we started calving our spring cows. Currently we have 425 calves on the ground which means we are about two thirds done with spring calving. Before we start our next big project of Artificially Inseminating our replacement heifers and the spring calving cows, we thought we would take a step back and explain how we process each calf that is born here at Bieber Red Angus.

Last week the blog post explained how we sort heavy cows and keep them in our Lot pen 9 until they calve. After they calve we bring them into the calving barn and individually pen the pair for a day, then after they are paired really well we turn them out into small bunches of 25-30 pairs for about a week. After that week we sort the bunch and turn the pair out into a larger pasture close to ranch headquarters.

Once the cow calves in our larger calving barn we bring the cow along with her newborn calf into the smaller portion of the calving barn and put both cow and calf into an individual pen. While moving the pair we write down the cows eartag number and also get the sex of the newborn calf. After the pair is the guys weigh the calf. We use a handheld, battery operated scale and before each calving season we check to make sure it is accurate. Here is Cody, one of our interns from Nebraska, weighing a calf.


 In the warm room in the calving barn we have a whiteboard that has each pen mapped out. The cows eartag number, the calving ease score, the date the calf was born, the calves coat color code, and the calfs weight and sex,  are all written in the corresponding whiteboard pen. Here is a picture of the whiteboard.


We have two interns here from South Africa, they each take turns night calving. They pen the pair, take the weight and write down all of the information. When Craig Howard gets there in the mornings he records all of the information from the whiteboard into the calving book. He also uses the cows eartag number and looks up her breeding record to find out which bull is the newborn calfs sire and enters the sire code into the calving book . 


Craig then uses all of the information from the calving book to make the calfs new eartag. Our eartag numbers start with number 100 and we use international letter designations in our eartags. Each letter corresponds to the year the calf was born.  This year, 2013 is represented by letter A. Our heifer tags have their number followed by the letter A, while the bull tags start with the letter A followed by the number.  For example calf A190 is the 90th heifer calf born at Bieber Red Angus in 2013. Peggy also takes the calving book and enters all of the information into Cow Sense, our computer record program.


The sire code is written at the very top of the calfs eartag and is followed by the cows eartag number. The cows eartag number is also written on the back of the tag. When we sort pairs into breeding pastures in the spring the cows number on the back of the tag is sometimes easier to spot while sorting. The sire codes for this year are:

OL VGW 903

PM GMRA Peacemaker 1216

GR RHRA Goldrush

CY LSF Cyclone 9934W

TK LSF Takeover 9943W

WA GP Wallace 016

IO Pardinga Iron Ore

EP Beckton Epic R397

JH Messmer Jericho W041

HH Bieber H Hughes W109

RO Bieber Roosevelt W384

OT Bieber Outrider W388

SM Bieber Rouse Samurai X22

TR Trax Rushmore X103

P Bieber Mighty Packer X178

RD Bieber Rollin Deep Y118

HD Bieber Hard Drive Y120

RC Bieber Real McCoy Y124

RE Bieber Redwood Y303  


So if you come and visit the new calves or have ever bought a bull or female from Bieber Red Angus, you can identify the sire and dam of that animal.

After the tag is made we tag the calf in the calfs right ear between the second and the third rib of the ear.


Although the processing the calf is not the most exciting job at Bieber Red Angus it is one of the more important jobs. Accurate calf records make every job from now until weaning easier!  

Response 1
Thursday 28th of March 2013
Submitted by: Ron B
Lindley----I finaly read your blog its really good----thanks ron
Response 2
Sunday 31st of March 2013
Submitted by: Lynette Durheim
Thanks Craig for making that cow number big enough for old people to read!

Sorting Newborn Pairs and Select Sires AI School
Calving 2013

Winter is still here in South Dakota. We had a day or two last week of spring like temperatures, which quickly turned back to mid teens and lower. This past Sunday and Monday we got a bit of snow and very heavy winds which caused some blizzard like conditions Monday morning.  We are hoping that spring comes eventually, and we will sure appreciate it when gets here this year. 

Calving has been going great so far. We are about halfway done with our spring calving bunch and have around 350 calves on the ground currently. We have about 100 close up cows that we put in the calving barn each night, along with another 150 or so heavy cows that are still in a close pasture. As the cows in our close up pen calve we sort heavy cows from the pasture and bring them into the close up pen and calving barn.  The cows have a spacious outdoor bedding area that they lounge in during the day. If a cow looks like she is about to calve, or if she does calve outside during the day, we bring the cow and calf into the calving barn and pen them together as soon as we see them.

Our calving barn has two portions; the back portion is a large open bedding area that we can fit around 100 head in at night. Whichever guy is night calving checks back there often and if one calves they bring cow and calf into the front part of the calving barn. This portion has 18 individual pens, two of which have head catches in them, and a warm room. 


The pair is penned together and then the next morning, if the pair is ready, they are turned out into pen 10 which is located just outside the calving barn.  We turn about 25-30 newborn pairs out into pen 10, once those pairs are a few days old we move all of the pairs from pen 10 down to pen 11. They stay in pen 11 for another few days then we move them down to pen 12. After they stay in pen 12 for a few days we then sort the pairs into 4 different groups and move them to pastures close to headquarters. We like to keep them close in pen 10, 11 and 12 so we can make sure that cow and calf are healthy and paired really well before we turn them out to a larger pasture group.

The 4 pasture groups we sort the cows into are the two year old Bieber heifers, the two year old Durheim heifers, the Bieber cows and the Durheim cows. We keep the first calf heifers separate so we can supplement those cows more if needed, and we separate the Durheim cows and first calf heifers because they will go back to Bruce and Lynnettes place near Ellendale, ND for pasture this summer.

To sort the pairs we run all of the cows and calves from pen 12 into our sorting corrals. We then separate the cows from the calves. The cows are then penned in a larger portion of the sorting corral and the calves in a smaller pen. We then start with one of the four groups and sort off around 5-10 cows that fit within that group. Then we then find each of those 5-10 cows calf from the pen of calves and put the calves back with their cows. Once the cows and calves have had a chance to pair back up we walk the group to their new pasture.  The whole process is quite quick and seems to work the best for us, by separating the cows from the calves right away we reduce the risk that a calf will get injured in the confusion. By only sorting 5-10 cows in each bunch that also reduces the likelihood that a calf will get stepped on or injured during the process.

The cows and calves in seperate pens waiting to be sorted


All done and out to one of the four pastures 

We will keep the pairs in these larger 4 pastures until we turn the Bieber cows out to pasture in the spring and until the Durheim cows are hauled back to Ellendale for the summer. We have a quite a few calf shelters in each pasture that are well bedded with straw and a large bedding pack for the cows. We will feed the cows in these pastures until spring is here and green grass is growing!


On Monday and Tuesday of this week, Select Sires held a AI training school here in Leola. Mike, Steve, Scott and I all took the course which was taught by Dave Dockter and Duayne Broek. Dave has been teaching Select Sires AI schools now for 53 years, he retired from teaching NDSU and currently travels to Kazakhstan where he breeds cows and teaches the locals AI techniques. Duayne is a Beef Specialist for Select Sires and lives in Watertown, SD. Jordan Rhodes a past Bieber Red Angus employee and a Select Sires Independent Representative also helped out one of the days.

Duayne Broek

The school was broken into a classroom portion and on farm practice. We started practicing on some preserved reproductive tracts and then moved onto live cows which Bieber Red Angus supplied. We had a great time and are hopefully all prepared for breeding season. If you have never taken an AI class and would like to learn to AI I would definitely recommend taking a Select Sires course! Here are some pictures:


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