Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A laborious Labor Day

There's an old saying that farmers celebrate Labor Day by laboring. And like every Labor Day I can remember since finishing college, that is exactly what we did yesterday.

113 needed help delivering her first calf
It started off like any other Monday morning. Dad and I had the cows in the barn and milking by 3:30am, and our farmhands came in at 7:00 to clean the barn and feed all the heifers while we were on our breakfast break. Our plans from that point on were to spend a couple of hours doing maintenance work on our silage chopper before sending it out to harvest any more corn, but those plans got put on hold thanks to heifers having calving difficulties.

While feeding the cows and heifers in our maternity pasture, we found one heifer that had calved overnight, another in labor and having difficulty, and a third that just didn't "look right". We successfully helped the second heifer deliver a healthy bull calf, but we weren't as fortunate with the third. The calf she was carrying had already died, making for a slow, difficult delivery process. The heifer made it through the delivery with flying colors though, and we had three "first timers" going through the milking barn yesterday afternoon.

The rest of the morning was spent doing maintenance work on some of our milking equipment and our silage chopper. The original thought of spending two hours on the chopper was only about half what we needed, and it was not ready for the field until the afternoon milking was nearly completed. In the end, I only chopped enough to feed to our cows last night and this morning, and we called it "quits" for the day a few minutes after 4:00pm. Yesterday was a holiday after all...no need to work too late!

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