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Green grass, birthdays and branding

Calving is finished and cattle finally head out to pasture

Dad, Gregory, gives young Joseph a horse ride on his first birthday.

This calving season has had its challenges for sure. The temperature rose drastically in the middle of April and caused a lot of runoff, leaving our home pasture very wet. We held the cows and calves in the corral for as long as we could because we don’t have any natural windbreak or protection in the pasture. We held them just a little too long and had to treat a few cases of scours.

Our last two River Bridge heifers calved with no assistance, one on the 21st and the other on the 25th of April. The Bannerlane heifers, on the other hand, have continued to cause us trouble. On the 25th we pulled a calf out of a Bannerlane heifer. The calf was big with one front foot back. We thankfully found her in time and saved the calf. We weren’t so lucky with another Bannerlane heifer. We have started the mad dash of spring work to get the land ready for seeding and so weren’t able to watch the heifers as closely. We got there too late and lost the calf, which had been born backward on May 7. We’re still waiting on the last Bannerlane heifer to calve and hoping maybe one out of five will be good.

On April 28 we moved the cows with calves out to the pasture behind the yard. They were very happy to be out of the cramped corral and were enthusiastically running, playing and chasing on the green grass.

On April 29 we fed all the cows and horses and then had a nice birthday supper for Joseph. It’s so hard to believe that he is a year old already. Grandma and Grandpa Thomas couldn’t be there but they got to sing “Happy Birthday” to him over the phone with us. Grandma and Grandpa Eppich were there, as well as the adopted Grandma and Grandpa Simon from Tramping Lake. Joseph loved the attention as well as the chocolate cake.

Joseph got his first horse ride of the year on May 1. We were out doing chores and Gregory threw him up on the old ex-stallion, Juan the Sailor. Joseph loved it and dug his little fingers into the old horse’s mane. The old horse liked the extra attention too.

On May 9 we worked our cows and branded the calves. The neighbour came over to help us and Grandpa John was on babysitting duty. It went pretty well. The cows came in from pasture great because they thought they were getting moved to a new pasture. The calves have grown very well.

On May 10 winter reared its head again with a rainy day that quickly became snow. We fed the cows a couple bales and walked through the calves checking for any that may be chilled or dull from the stress of the storm right after being branded. Everybody looked all right but we’ll have to keep an eye on them for a few days.

About the author


Heather Eppich is a young former Idaho rancher building a new farm and family with her husband and young son, near Handel, Sask. Contact her at: [email protected]



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