Erik with the baby bull calf
We have had a break on our farm for a month and a half from having calves born. We had two bull calves about ten days ago, but the real birthing flush will be starting now. A healthy bull calf was born this morning and he and his mother are doing well.
This afternoon, Tim, the boys and I got the rest of our calf hutches ready for the new babies. A few days ago, Tim and Jon cleaned out the old bedding in all the hutches and tipped them up so that the sun would naturally sterilize them. Today, we spread out wood chips on the ground where the hutches would be placed. The wood chips keep out the moisture and provide a good foundation for the hutches. Next we put the hutches into place and then filled them with straw. The calves will have nice warm and dry beds.
We keep our calves in the hutches for their first three weeks. This keeps them healthy, dry and clean. Just like you wouldn’t send a newborn to daycare the day after their birth, we don’t put our calves in group housing right away. This allows us to give them individual attention so that they grow big and strong.
You may notice that milk prices will be slightly lower in the next couple of months. This is because many farmers still seasonally calve. This means that they like to have a majority of their calves born in the spring. The reasoning for this is so that calves are big by the time winter comes along. After cows give birth, they give their most milk. This creates a strong supply of fluid milk April-July, thus lowering the price of milk in the grocery store.
Tim talking to a dairy farmer in Luca, Italy
Our farm has calves born almost every month of the year. We try not to have calves born in July/August (too hot) and January/February (too cold). It was interesting that when Tim and I were in Italy, for our honeymoon and visited a dairy farm, we learned they seasonally calve in the fall. This way they don’t have calves being born when they are doing a lot of field work in the spring and summer.
Let us hope the next calf born is a heifer. Heifers are good because they are our future generation of cows.
Zweber Farms is a 4th generation family operated organic dairy. We also specialize in sustainably raised beef, pork and chicken and sell it directly to customers in Minnesota.Visit our website to learn more, http://www.zweberfarms.com