Nothing lifts the spirit like watching the earth come back to life after a dreary winter.
The cold winter months bring some necessary rest to our soil and plants (and maybe even ourselves), but eventually we are all ready to start buzzing again!
While flowers and green grass are the first signs of spring for most of the world, the first glimpse of spring often has four legs on our farm. Whether it is a new baby calf, lamb, or kitten, the first baby that is born kicks off springtime for our family.
As you can imagine, having 40+ pregnant animals with approaching due dates creates a fair amount of excitement and work, but there is also a lot of preparation we have done ahead of time that you might not think of.
Similarly to humans, there are several things we can do during the months of pregnancy to set ourselves and the animals up for a successful birthing season. Over the winter, we went through two cycles of vaccinating our cows and sheep. This protects the pregnant animals from illness, AND they will pass that immunity along to the babies they are growing! So even before they are born, our calves and lambs are protected from some of the parasites and diseases they could be exposed to after birth.
Another consideration for a safe birthing season is the animals’ living environment. Perhaps you have helped the mothers-to-be in your life prepare their homes for the arrival of a new baby, and we do the same for our livestock. Before calving and lambing began, we made sure all of our animals had access to fresh pastures, shelters with bedding, and as much predator protection as possible for our most vulnerable animals. Even the cats were set up with shelter houses and heat pads for their little ones!
Finally, we check and restock our emergency supplies in case of trouble in the springtime. On occasion, an animal may require assistance during the birthing process or a baby may need interventions such as bottle feedings or medications during their early days on the farm. Ideally we don’t need to interfere, but it is best to be prepared in case our animals need our help.
This year, the sheep took home the trophy for the first baby on the farm. Next up were the cows, and finally – some kittens.
I love the first flowers of the year as much as anyone else, but nothing beats that first beautiful, sunny day when the calves run through the pasture with their tails in the air! That sight makes all of the hard work worth it.
ROSIE (SANDERSON) TRUMP – FARMER, AG MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS, CLARE