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On TK Ranch we calve our cows and first calf heifers in the warm Spring and Summer months. Summer calving is in tune with nature and is much easier on the animals.
Warm sunshine, fresh air and green grass are the perfect setting for a calf to be born in. The babies are healthier when they're born during the late spring and summer and their mothers producer ample nutritious milk from the fresh grass they consume. Calving is our favourite time of year and we spend many hours every day checking our cows and new calves to make sure all is well in the “maternity ward”.
Some producers in the conventional market calve during the winter and early spring months when the weather is more extreme. This is usually much more difficult for the animals and for the people taking care of them. Often they calve at this time because they have seeding to do in the spring, or are purebred breeders that want older bull calves to sell the following spring.
Many long nights are spent ensuring calves are dried off and taken care of so that they do not get sick or too cold. Pneumonia and scours are serious problems that many producers face calving in the cold weather, not to mention frozen ears, feet, and tails. Unfortunately some producers feel that they have no other options. The fall calf run, when most cattle are sold and shipped to the feedlot industry, happens during September and October. To get a heavier calf in the fall they feel they need to calve as early as possible.
Creating a market for our animals that is outside the conventional system allows us to calve in the spring and summer. We don't sell our calves in the fall but background (keep them over the winter) and grass them (put them out on pasture) the following summer. Most are then kept a second winter and finished for our meat program.