When to calve?

Outside Cow Calf
angus calf at Maple Side Farm

Over the past 15 years we’ve calved at various times of the year and found pros and cons.  For sure, we don’t want to calve in the middle of summer.  Too hot for the cows and by the time the calves can eat grass the quality is gone.  We have good indoor facilities for winter calving, but when you calve a lot of cows inside, you dramatically increase the risk of calfhood illnesses like scours.  We have found the weather is perfect in the fall for outdoor calving, but I really don’t like having young calves in the winter.  It is added stress on the mother when they need energy to survive themselves and the calves won’t grow as quickly (though, they do tend to catch up eventually).  This year we calved a large group in March and April. We had a warm spring, which helped. Most calves were born outside and it really went well. No sick calves!  Now and then you have a calving issue and we bring them in the barn. That is a little extra work, but overall, the early springtime really does work the best for us.  Especially since we have a lot of pasture and calves are ready for grass about turnout time.  

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