A Cowboy’s Faith: Romance of producing calves – Osage County Online | Osage County News

A Cowboy’s Faith: Romance of producing calves

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“That heifer’s going to do it when she gets doggone good and ready.”

All’s havoc around the barnyard – stewing, checking, helping, pouting about the 40 first calf heifers ready to drop.

Actually another two beat the clock, had healthy babies in the winter pasture before being brought to headquarters.

Now, it’s mostly watch and wait. “That ‘659’ looks like she needs to be gotten in.”

After a few days, the girls learn the routine, walk down the barn lane without resistance. Then, it’s not too tough to sort off the one wanted.

But sure enough middle of the night call, “692” decided it was time. Out in the lot, 10 above, wind blowing snow, she dropped one, fortunately it’s alive. Tiny, wet, shivering baby with a first-time momma who has no clue what’s happened.

Cowman’s job is helping cattle in distress. But, in the cold shrill, getting heifer and newborn under cover becomes more complicated. Big stout cow foreman carries the calf, but momma isn’t smart enough to follow.

So baby in the barn, come back, rouse heifer every way thinkable to get her there, too. Once together, momma won’t accept her calf, a bit dried off, standing, trying to get first milk. Another battle at hand, convincing maternal instinct to take a hold allowing offspring to nurse.

That other heifer got in, not a care in the world, munching hay with calving furthest from her plans.

Next evening, “two feet showing, get that ‘645’ in.” Just wait, don’t hurry her. Two hours, three, call the big son (grandson) to stop by on the way home from the ballgame to assist.

Help arrives, decide to go in, do what can. “Too late.” It’s already succumbed. May have been dead sometime, or perhaps should have tried to assist earlier. One just doesn’t know.

Horse barn has certainly become cow barn, as seven of nine stalls have heifers in them now. Some are already pairs and a couple yet to drop. In a few days, twosomes go back to cleaner winter traps.

That’s the way it is in the real cowboy life.

Reminded of John 16:21: “When she is in labor, has pain because her time has come; but when she has given birth, she no longer remembers the anguish because of her joy of the newborn.”

030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.

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