3March, 2014

calves1Rowse’s 1+1 Ranch in Burwell, Nebraska, offers visitors a chance to see what life is like on an authentic, working cattle ranch. Calving season is currently underway, and while we don’t allow visitors to the ranch during calving, it’s an exciting time nonetheless, as newborn calves are welcomed into the world.


When cows are in their final trimester of pregnancy, special attention is paid to feeds and the feeding process, because they’re going to be lactating to feed little ones in the near future.


Preparing a ranch for the arrival of baby calves has much in common with how humans prepare for babies. Ranchers need to check their pens, chutes and calving stalls during daylight, to make sure they’re ready for use when the birthing moment arrives. We’ll check the cows to make sure they’re doing alright medically before, during, and after the birthing.


The actual birth of a calf is quite a sight to see, and sometimes difficult for the faint of heart. It can involve a combination of disposable obstetrical sleeves, obstetrical chains and handles, mechanical calf pullers, injectable antibiotics, lubricant, and disinfectant. Since births can happen at any time, flashlights, old towels, and a bucket of non-detergent soap in warm water are items to have on hand.


Ever wonder how much a newborn calf weighs? You’d probably think 20 or 30 pounds, right? Nope—they’re usually 60 to 100 pounds out of their mama!


When the weather is very cold or snowing heavy you will need to watch the babies very close. The little calf will need to get up and suck right away, if not we give calves 20 minutes to spend with their mother, then take them away to a “hotbox” to dry off.  After they’re dry and we have fed them, we bring the calves right back to their moms. It’s very important for calves to be given colostrum, their mother’s milk, to bolster their immune system and keep them healthy. Without it, they could die within two weeks. Calves will drink their mother’s milk for 4 to 8 months and will start grazing on grass or hay within a month. Some ranchers have changed their calving time to help with feed costs.


At Rowse’s 1+1 Ranch, there’s usually something special happening for every unique time of year. Calving season is one of the most important and exciting, as it brings about a new generation of cattle that the rancher and visitors alike will be working with for years to come. Visit our website for more information on how you can be a part of our authentic, working, Nebraska cattle ranch.


Posted by Tammy Rowse