Temperatures are nearly 20 degrees below average and in some areas it’s even colder.
In temperatures like this–Heidi Werosta explains– it can make ‘life’ difficult for ranchers.
Cows can handle the colder temperatures because they have more fluid … while a calf has hardly any body fat… making it difficult to survive in this cold weather.
When it comes time to calving in below average temperatures they’re brought into…
“The calving barn or the 5 star hotel as we say,” says Steve Tomac, Rancher in St. Anthony.
Since it’s warmer and protects them from the wind.
Normally calving is done in the pasture or the half-star calf shelter.
Tomac says, “On normal years we calve out on the range and you handle the calf once just to tag them. Or if you have a health issue you might need to doctor them a little bit. This year we are handling these calves two or three times.”
Calving in the cold certainly has its challenges.
Sebastian Jacobs, St. Anthony Rancher for Tomac Ranch, says, “There’s a lot more stuff you have to do to get the babies out alive.”
He says that nearly every calf is being moved into the barn.
The calves are typically inside for 1-2 days, enough time to get used to the cooler air.
“That way she could calve out of the wind and make it so that baby can get up and smell their mom, grab a tit without worrying and getting chilled down,” adds Jacobs.
Typically temperatures in the 20s is good keep the newborns outside, with no wind, but everything below that– a barn is a must. With only 40% of the way done, they have to continue making room for more.
“This year maybe every single calf is getting almost picked up and moved into the barn and then moved into another barn to accommodate for the new ones that are coming in to get the ground,” says Jacobs.
Weather plays a big role in calving and the only thing left is to hope that it becomes more like Spring soon.
This year alone — Sebastian has calved nearly 650 cows since February 10th.