Winter is here at Oak Barn! While winter may slow down some farming operations, it does not slow things down around here. Often times, the arrival of colder weather will increase the workload. With colder temps, the amount of time spent prepping to go outdoors with gloves, hats, and coats, to complete daily chores is doubled. Something I’ve heard before and I’ve said myself is: “It’s the time of year where getting dressed to go do chores takes longer than actually doing them!” Definitely true!
Daily operations on the farm can be a bit more of a challenge especially when temps get below freezing such as keeping the water from being frozen for the cattle and elsewhere on the farm, having to spread out the hay with the hay bale processor due to the lack of fresh grass, and the extra steps it takes when winter hits the farm that causes a chore to take much longer than expected.
But, one thing that I always look forward to in the winter (which it’s quickly coming up) is calving season. I love all the new calves around the farm and it’s something I look forward to all year long! With the calving season in the winter also comes some challenges, but oh so worth it!
Here are some things that have to be done in the winter for calving season:
Get the Calving Barn Ready
This is essential to make sure that the cattle are warm and comfortable when giving birth. Every year we put up pens with lots of straw, so the cows and calves have a warm and cozy place. We are currently getting ready for calving season by doing this now!
Checking in On Mama Cows and Calves
Calves are just like newborn babies and require a lot in the beginning. We check on the cows every few hours around the clock to if they need any assistance and this is crucial to make sure everything is going ok.
Here’s an interesting story that happened last calving season. We got a cow and newborn calf out of the cold and into the calving barn and thought all was good and mama only had one calve. We stepped away for an hour and when we came back another calf was born…. she had twins! So, you never know what can happen, making checks is essential!
Photo by: Stella Imaging
Watch Out for Storms
We watch the weather especially in the winter around calving season as cows tend to calve when a big storm is coming. Isn’t that interesting? The pressure changes in the air causing the calves to start coming! We also like to be aware of the weather in case we need to make any needed preps so as the weather can change quickly and bring in inches of snow and high winds!
We get asked a lot how the whole process of Oak Barn Beef works! How fun it is to dive in and answer that question. If you want to read how our family farm produces premium beef, that is dry aged by a local small town butcher, this blog post is for you! Here's a summary...