FIRST WAGYU X

 

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One would think that after 46 years of calving first-calf heifers, we’d be more relaxed about such a natural process where maternal instincts usually insure a successful calf crop. But I confess our anxiety is high this time of year, perhaps in part because we’ve seen all different kinds of failures from coyote kill to breach births to heifers more social than maternal who leave their calves alone too long to gossip with the other girls.

This morning before checking the first-calf heifers bred to Wagyu bulls, I drove up the road to see two coyotes taking turns trying to hamstring a brand new Angus calf belonging to one of the third-calf cows who was nowhere around. My shot that missed sent them off in different directions, but they’ll be back. While checking the calf, its mother showed up, looking to take me as I rolled it over to make sure it was OK.

Not far away, a first-calf heifer across the fence was down in labor, two feet showing when she stood up. I left her to check the rest of the first-calf heifers. About an hour later I returned as 5176 was licking off our first Wagyu X calf of the season.

 

10 responses to “FIRST WAGYU X

  1. It must be exciting. I think I’d be camping out with them, gun in hand.

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  2. BTW, how do you be everywhere at the same time?

    Liked by 1 person

    • When we’re also feeding a little hay, our presence can be distracting for first-time mothers bonding with their calves, a gray area where some are better mothers than others. And in the end, if she can’t take care of her calf, we don’t want her in the cowherd, but we don’t want to be the reason. We want to be there to help if a heifer is having trouble. And we’re going to lose some to coyotes, so we have to make a showing, shoot as many as we can while we’re out there. After awhile, the word gets out. It’s a fine, but not not a straight line–everyday, every year, we think we learn new things, then tweak our program a little to accommodate what we think we know. It’s damn sure not boring.

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  3. She may be a first time mama…but she seem to have the routine down pat! Wish you luck with decreasing the coyote population, John. The only thing I hate as much as a coyote is a rattlesnake. And they’re on equal footing!

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    • If I happen to be there, I usually wait until the calf has sucked the first time before I leave. I did’t think she’d ever get done cleaning the calf up, some pretty rough licking for a wobbly baby for nearly thirty minutes before he found the right pair of legs. We tend to put the bad guys in the same box, though entirely different varmints. The rattlesnake doesn’t want any trouble, and the coyote really wants to get into some.

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  4. Glad you drove that predator off, John!

    janet

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    • Following the day-old calf, each coyote was focused on a hind leg, nipping at its closest point, back and forth like two pistons in a machine behind the calf. I got excited trying put a bullet through them both at the same time and didn’t squeeze the trigger. We’ll see how long the lesson lasts this morning, or whether we lost a calf.

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  5. Age and experience can still be over ridden by adrenaline

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  7. John, I’d be the first in line to volunteer on coyote watch: Just give me a good .308 and ten clips, and a truck with lots of spotlights!

    …or maybe NVGs and a night scope. However, I too often pull to the left when target shooting. [not ideologically]

    –Jeffrey Ady in Honolulu

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