Our 2017 calving season has begun!
Two weeks ago we moved our bred heifers into the calving barn. We gate sorted the heifers into pens in two of our hoop calving barns.
As they calve we move the new pair into a bonding pen located in our old calving barn. The pair stays in the individual pen for about a day. They are then moved back to the hoop barns into a pairs pen with calves who are all roughly the same age. As our barns fill up we move the oldest pairs pen out to pasture and fill it with new young calves.
When a calf is born we carry, walk or use horses (when we start calving heavy) to bring the new calf and cow down to a bonding pen in our old calving barn. Here is the ranch's newest calf in a bonding pen with his mom.
After about a day we move the pair back to the hoop barn into a pairs pen with calves that are about the same age.
The hoop calving barns provide shelter from the wind and snow but are still the same teperature as outside. This week that was sub-zero nearly everyday.
Our first few pairs of the 2017 calving season.
Sunset over the ranch on this blustery winter day.
With temperatures below zero our new snow doesn't freeze down. Instead it blows areound in our ever present South Dakota wind!
The ice still lingers from our Christmas Day ice storm.
The summer cows are in a pasture with some shelter close to the ranch. We will keep them close and feed them as necessary until they head out to pasture in the spring to calve!