On The Ranch

Twins!

Over the weekend, Bert had his first set of twins in four years! The other cowboys have all had several sets of twins each year, but not Bert. He was surprised because he pulled the first one due to it having a leg in the wrong position, and it was pretty normal size–usually twins are smaller–and lo and behold there was one more in there, who was just as big! I feel for that mama, and she was a champ carrying two such big calves full-term.

It’s pretty warm here today, so after breakfast Wacey and I got ready and took a walk down to the barn to see the new babies and hopefully help Bert feed since apparently tractors are Wacey’s current major love language. I even had the incredible foresight to bring my Nikon! I did not, however, have the incredible foresight to check the battery, so I only got a few pictures before it died. Baby steps. Baby steps.

Both of the twins are girls, which is nice because–fun fact alert!–when there is a pair of boy/girl twins, the girl twin is sterile because the hormones of the boy calf affect her reproductive development in utero. They’re called freemartins, and they are otherwise completely normal, but as they are sterile we have to ship them to the feedyard for beef, even if they turn out to be a nice enough heifer to keep in the herd.

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Gah I just love baby calves! These two are so fluffy and cute and I can’t even handle it, and I love that they are basically strawberry blondes (Charolais mama, Red Angus papa). The younger heifer will get an eartag today, as we weren’t expecting to need two!

twin-mamaThis is their mama, and she’s outside having breakfast. The twins will stay in the barn until they’re both big and strong, especially since it’s supposed to get cold this week. They should be ready to go outside soon, but we’ll keep them close for awhile. Plus, as is often the case, this mama doesn’t have enough milk to feed both babies, so Bert is bottle-feeding one until a foster mother becomes available. When that happens, I’ll be sure to write a post about the grafting process and how we help foster mamas “adopt” a new calf!

(To be fair, though, we had a cow raise both of her calves last year (W555 is a milk machine, apparently) and we got to see both of her girls at Bangs vaccinating last week and gosh they look good!)

I love twins. I don’t know why, maybe it’s because they’re fairly unusual or maybe it’s because it’s two-for-the-price-of-one cuteness, but they are so much fun. Grafting to a new mama can be a lot of work, though, especially with heifers, so hopefully Bert gets lucky this time.

In case you were wondering how happy Wacey gets when I say “Shall we go down to the barn and see Daddy and the cows?” this is it. He loves it. Also had to get that pre-haircut bedhead on camera because gosh it’s the greatest, even if there is a mullet back there.

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Happy Monday! May your coffee/tea/caffeine choice of the day be strong and delicious, may your kids’ naptimes be long and full of whatever you need them to be, and may your kid not poop in the bathtub like mine did twice last week.

 

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