Saturday, May 23, 2009

6th Grade

Calving season is finally slowing down. Although the entire season has potential for unusual and unexpected things, sometimes the end brings the biggest surprises. Yesterday and the week before I had similar experiences. I was told by one of our office personell that there was a heifer coming that was calving. Now for those of you who are not particularly farm animal terminology savvy a heifer is a young female of the bovine or cattle species. In general that name applies to all females up until they have their first calf. Naturally I assumed that my soon to arrive patient was the typical two year old heifer having her first calf.
When the heifer arrived I soon realized that something was not as previously assumed as the heifer was much smaller than would be expected. This was particularly evident as I had just been out to Bangs (Brucellosis) vaccinate the heifers of this farmer and knew that he fed is cattle very well. In fact she looked no bigger than any of the those just coming yearling heifers I had vaccinated a few months previously. I am sure by now that many of you have guessed that she actually was one of those heifers and was now just over 14 months.
The first heifer's calf was delivered by a C-section.

The heifer from yesterday was a small black angus heifer that probably didn't even weigh 800 lbs (mature weight can be anywhere from 1100-1800 lbs). The owner had looked at her ear tag and found that she was just over 13 months old. Of course I did the math in my head and realized that this heifer had to have been bred when she was a 4 1/2 month old calf at her mother's side and here she was 9 months later with her own bouncing bundle of calf. I guess this is what would be the animal kingdom equivalent of a 6th grade pregnancy.