What you see above is Cameron trying to stand up a newborn baby calf from last week. While we normally only calve in the spring in April and May. We took on some fall calving cows this year to try our hand at what they call custom grazing. This is where we assume complete responsibility for the cows, calving them out, feeding them through the winter, doctoring any sick ones etc. in exchange for a precent of the money when the calves sell.
The benefit to this for us is that we didn’t have to go buy cows, which right now is extremely high and it takes around 4 calves to earn your money back from a cow. It is still a risk for us however, if the cows lose calves, we will lose money.
Which is where the start of this fall calving has been going. Of the first 5 cows to calve, 3 babies were born dead, one of which was a twin. Leaving the surviving twin at only around 30lbs. The hope is that the twin will catch up in size with the other calves come weaning time. Only time will tell though!
We have also had to give bottles to 3 of the other ones as of right now. The cause of all these troubles? The extreme heat we had last week of 110-115 heat indexes that despite our best efforts of plenty of shade and water caused the cows to stress calve 2 weeks earlier than their due date.
When Cameron and I first discussed giving this opportunity a try we prayed about it and felt like God was bringing us a chance to try a new way to bring some profit from the land. While we did have our concerns about how it might go, we knew only that if we didn’t try it, we would never know.
So, we are left with hopeful hearts that the rest of this trial goes well. We have the cows for a full year so you never know what else might happen. Still praying it turns out profitable! If not, we will try something different next year!