Man, how time flies when you’re having fun! It’s hard to believe that it’s been 3 years since I’ve tricked my parents into letting me live my farmer dreams! Over the past years I’ve taken over a lot of the winter & spring feeding for our 150 commercial cow calf herd and do all of the spring calving. In the late spring, I help ship the pairs to our pastures up at Edmonton, and then my wedding season begins & I anxiously await for my “kids” to come back home in the fall, with fat calves at their side!
This year we have consolidated our farm’s cow/calf operation to Veterinary Agri-Health Services (VAHS) from Airdrie. You may recognize VAHS by their resident social media sensation, Cow Vet Cody Creelman. You can view Cody Creelmans Stories on his YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Having the veterinarians from VAHS out at the farm is always a treat because I always have so many questions. I value our vet’s opinion on recent trends and innovations in the industry and can often pick up something exciting and new. This year I’m excited to say that we have started our 150 commercial cow/calf herd on VAHS’s CalfBook software. It is a herd management software that allows me to track, sync and manage our cow herd on a handy tablet. My records that are entered into the tablet are synced (by internet) to a database online, where I can print out charts and grab data for putting into an excel spreadsheet. I am very excited about this software!
We had VAHS out for our preg check yesterday, and got our cows entered into Calfbook. As our girls run through the chute, they are confirmed bred (or open) by ultrasound and scanned (with a RFID scanning wand) into the software. If they are confirmed bred, they receive their vaccinations (to boost mama + calf in-utero) and ivermectin pour on (to protect them from parasites). I also like to trim the hair inside of their ears so I can read their dangle tags easier during calving season. If they are open (no calf) they do not receive their vaccination & ivermectin and are put into a separate cull pen to be transported to auction. Our first calves are due March 24, and I can’t wait for them to make their appearance!!
I do not believe there was ever a life more attractive than life on a cattle farm.
The CalfBook software which works on any Android based tablet allows me to record individual and group events by scanning in the animals RFID tag (with the yellow RFID scanning wand)!! Or, I can hand write the animals tag #. (but scanning with the wand is more fun).
Cow Vet Mike Jelinski and his sweet headgear. His ultrasound wand sends a life-feed image of the uterus into the goggles.
Vet Tech Ceanna applies Ivermectin Pour On for each animal, which helps protect them from parasites.
Scanning in each animal and vaccinating once she is confirmed pregnant.
Dad marking an open cull.
Cows are so cute.
My sweet Dottie girl.
Mike, post-preg check looking a little pooey!!!
Unfortunately preg checking 2017 was a sad affair for KC Cattle Company, as my two favourite heifers came up open/late calving. My pick of the pen replacement heifer “Dumpling” (a pretty tan red angus/charlais heifer I calved out in 2015) came up open. When she was born and she dried off I remember thinking to myself, WHAT A HEIFER!!! And I underlined her in my calf book as a keeper. And her dam is one of my top 5 favourite cows of my dad’s, 115W, a sharp 15 year old charlais cross brockle face cow (seriously, don’t ever ask me about 115W cow. My eyes go all starry and I will talk your face off for 20 minutes). Somehow I was able to purchase the heifer from dad last spring. Sadly, Dumpling was not meant to be and she came up open. I am just hoping that 115W cow will calve out a heifer this year, so I can beg Dad to buy her!! And then, my sweet Dottie girl came up 60 days bred, which means she wasn’t bred by the bull in the summer & she she will calve in August/September this year (unlike everyone else who will be calving in March/April). She will miss a breeding, and I’m on the fence as to whether she will be staying around once she weans that calf, or whether she will be sold right away. Unfortunately, in the cattle business , it is too expensive to feed a unbred cow, and there are hungry people in the world. Farming teaches you to honor your animals, give them the best feed and care you can provide, but in return, your animals need to support your lifestyle (so you can continue to care for your livestock at the same high standard). Farming has given me the gift of animal husbandry but with it comes the grief of loss.
Check out Preg Checking from 2016 here (learn about CCIA RFID tags!)