Calving Season Starts On The Ranch

Here at our Ranch for troubled teens and at-risk young adults we are about to start calving, this is an exciting time of the year for all of us. If you have watched any of the episodes of the “Last American Cowboy” you will understand how challenging caving season can be! The young men who are here in our Christian Catholic Rehab Programs will get to take part in the birth of over 600 calves this year. This means late night calf checks, which involves trudging out to the corrals in the freezing cold with a flash light and checking the “hind ends” of the cows looking for signs of trouble with the labor and delivery of the calves.

Any cowboy who's been through even one calving season has most likely dealt with calving difficulty. Dystocia is the eight-dollar word for calving difficulty, and it's the biggest cause of calf death loss at birth on any cattle ranch. It can be minimized by managing things like genetics and nutrition, but once the calving season is upon us, those things are in the past. Now our focus becomes teaching the struggling young men the keys to observation and possible intervention. Being prepared to provide assistance is critical and many of the troubled teens get to assist in helping with the delivery of a difficult or large calf. It's been estimated that timely and appropriate intervention can save up to 70 percent of calves that otherwise would die due to dystocia. It's also just as important to know when not to intervene, and just let the mother nature move uninterrupted. The key is for the expereinced ranch hands to share their experience and teach the normal sequence of events up to and through calving. This is a unique adventure that can change a struggling young man who is centered in himself to a confident young man who has made a difference in saving a helpless baby calves life!