2017 Calving Season Has Begun
April 18th marked the start of our 2017 calving season with the birth of an Olmo x Chrissy heifer, and by May 2nd the final calf of the group had been born. In all, we had 27 new embryo calves from this group, 10 heifers and 17 bulls. Two of the bulls were born at our vet's farm using his recipient cows (OF Eldorado 23E - Brindisi x Crissy and OF Elvis 24E - Roberto x Crissy).
During the two week calving period I stayed at the barn 24/7, with Brian arriving early in the morning and staying late, and our Veterinarian, Randy Scott, coming when needed. It was a VERY long two weeks with very little sleep, and despite our schedule there were lots of late night births.
Ordinarily we prefer to move the cows and newborn calves to stalls and give them a week or so to "mother up." About the time the calf is bouncing around the stall we turn them back out into the general cow barn. However, some days were so busy this go-around, with multiple cows going into labor at the same time, that cows that gave birth in the morning were being moved back to the barn in the afternoon.
Heading into this calving group we all shared some trepidation about how things would go, because every cow in this group was new to us. Last year we started off with about 35 cows that we had been using embryos on for 3-4 years with great results. Looking forward we wanted to increase the number of embryos calves we were having, which led to me buying about 10 head a week at the stockyards in Davenport, WA for about 8 weeks. In the end our embryologist narrowed the 80+ head down to 50 suitable cows.
Coming into this year we were expecting 50 calves, but a hand full of cows resorbed their embryos after being confirmed pregnant. With 27 calves on the ground already, we are now expecting 5 more in the next 10 days, and 14 more at the end of July for a grand total of 46 calves.
We are already looking ahead to next year, and have already started buying more cows to use as recipients for embryo transfers. This past Monday we bought 13 cows, and 5 were found to be suitable. By the time we implant in July we hope to have another 20 head. Any that don't have embryos take will get a second chance in the October transfer group.
Enjoy the pictures below of the calves from this group. I did my best to get pictures right after they were born, inevitably I missed one (OF Evelyn 17E - Ostrop x Lizzie - Heifer).