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Spring mishaps and hardships but still hope

Eppich News: Though for different reasons, problems just seem to work out

This mother cow readily accepted a grafted calf after her own died.

On March 23 we had another mishap — a four-day-old heifer calf got stepped on and we lost her. Later that same day we went over to Lee and Erica Redlich’s, neighbours by Landis, to pick up the pig they butchered for us. We had a very nice visit with them and Lee’s father Terry. While visiting we learned that Terry had a few sets of twin calves and we asked him if we could buy one. The next day he called to say we could come get one of the calves. We visited again for a while and then brought the calf home to his new momma.

We skinned the coat from the dead heifer and put the coat on the twin, and then put the cow in the head catch and got the twin nursing. It took no time at all and they were a pair. In a pre-Easter light, the cow was thrilled that her black heifer had been resurrected as a red bull. She is a good mother and we were very happy to find a calf for her to raise.

On March 25 we cut up the pig from Redlich’s with Grandpa Barney’s help. The next day we put the 10 oldest calves out to the back pasture. They loved the new open space.

We went to our Landis pasture on March 29 to get a water sample from the dugout. There has been very little runoff and we were worried about the sulphate levels. On the way to the dugout we stopped just a little too late and the truck sunk into the mud. Luckily, Kenny Reiniger was driving by and he pulled us out. We are so thankful for good neighbours.

While we were in North Battleford taking in the water sample and running other errands, two more of the heifers decided to calve. Luckily John was home and checking them. He ended up having to assist both of them. He was a little tired when we got home, but had been very successful.

Our last heifer calved April 3 and we had to pull this calf as well. He turned out to be the biggest one of them all. We didn’t have to pull any calves from our other cows, but they were definitely bigger than they had been last year. The long, cold spell in February played a big part. One of the ways that cows naturally deal with the cold is that their circulatory system becomes more efficient in order to keep their body temperature up. So while the blood flow is increased to the entire body, this means it is also increased to the fetus, making it grow larger. We hope we don’t have too much trouble with our foaling mares.

Spring was definitely here by the second week in April. The guys started madly working on the cleaning plant to get it back into working order so that they could clean seed. On April 11 they also started their spring fieldwork to get the field ready to seed. That evening John and Barb brought a few pizzas and a cake over and Rose and Barney arrived to help celebrate my birthday. Joseph had a blast blowing out my candles.

We went to Edmonton April 13 to celebrate Gregory’s great Uncle Joe’s 80th birthday. We had a nice visit with Uncle Joe and Aunt Betty and Gregory’s aunts. Just before we had to leave to head back home to take care of our animals, Joseph got to blow out Uncle Joe’s candles too. He would be well practised for his own birthday candles on April 29.

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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