Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Gestation times

I want to congratulate some good friends of ours on the birth of their daughter today. The beginning of a new life in a family is an exciting and joyful time. I know that the new arrival is a girl but I did not ask all the other details that many seem to need to know. What did she weigh, how long is she, her name all had the same answer from me that is the standard, “I have NO idea sweetie” which always brings a raised eyebrow of slight scorn from my lovely bride. I know that baby is in good health and mom is doing well and that is all that really matters in the big picture of life.

I also want to announce the first bovine arrival of 2010 here on our ranch. A black brockle face heifer that I am guessing weighs about 80 pounds and will probably remain nameless. Well not totally nameless, she will be yellow #0002 per my secret code tagging program. Going by the typical 285 day bovine gestation table there should not have been any calves prior to January 20th but we all know how that goes sometimes. I have read the range can be anywhere from 272 to 295 days depending genetics, nutrition, breed, demeanor of neighbors bulls and condition of your perimeter fences. I have done a lot of focused work on calving ease in our herd and we usually range in the lower end of the normal bovine gestation time. With both of these events today I decided that gestation time would be the focus of today’s post. Please stay in your seat and try and be calm folks. I can see how excited you all are.

But seriously, how many of you know a down to earth and very moral couple that has had a 9 pound 14 ounce “premature” bundle of joy a scant 7 months after their nuptials? Heck yours truly was in his teens before he did the math of how many anniversaries’ my folks had celebrated in relation to the number of candles on my annual German Chocolate cake. This is probably a good point to tell you how much I love my mother. Always, Mom.

Knowing this information is especially true with cattle and can have the possibility of providing much needed or wanted information. Remember that time you had a cow calve 2 months early and scratched your head wondering what was going on? Remember how the calf looked like it had a kinda narrow body and had a few freckles on his lower legs and belly? Remember how the calf had some horn nubs at a very young age even though you only own purebred Black Angus bulls with the dominant polled characteristic? Remember that day 285 days prior when you heard a commotion over the hill and found your neighbor busily fixing a property dividing fence at 5 am? Remember how nervous and rushed your neighbor looked? Remember how he said he just wanted to get an early start on the day? Remember how happy and sleepy his Corriente bull looked. Yeah now tell me it is not important to think about these things!

Today’s real environmentalist species on the ranch is The Great Blue Heron aka Ardea herodias