Saturday, March 30, 2013

From the baby pen to the toddler pasture

Greetings from Elkhorn Creek Ranch near the epicenter of the Bakken oil formation!

Kyle attends 'Wigs N Gigs' (Formally, Wiggles and Giggles - the most wonderfully managed and staffed day care center I have ever seen... and when I worked for the local public health unit in Mandan I inspected child care facilities giving a lot to compare it to).  At Wigs N Gigs there are three different groups of kids in the organization.  The Baby Room babies, the toddlers in the Toddler Room, and the Pre-school Room kids.  It is a big deal at Wigs to get moved to the next room as a child ages and progresses.

Yesterday on the ranch ALL the 2013 babies to date moved from the baby pen to the 'toddler pasture'.  In a normal year, we move 'pairs' (each pair being a mom and her baby) out every weekend and in a typical March we are getting around 50 babies a week.  Therefore we normally move about 50 pairs out to the 'toddler pasture' one day a week.  Well, yesterday Pete and Oops and Hoss and I moved 120 pairs out in response to finally having agreeable weather and needing to get the second cycle cows moved into the calving / baby pasture.

The thing about moving pairs, it is a process that requires patience (which I have very little of) and lots and lots of time.  Each mom and baby have to be paired up (brought together physically with a moment to bond, so they recognize that each is 'theirs').  If this isn't done, the calf doesn't follow the cow and the cow runs off looking for her calf (even if it is next to her because she hasn't smelled it yet recognizing it as hers) and is hard to handle.  Did I mention I don't have a lot of patience?

Yesterday was a beautiful day and we had the horses 'chained' up... they have sharp shoes on to sure up their footing in the mud and on the ice (both are every where right now).  We moved out just over 120 pairs in six hours.  Right at sun down I opened up the living room door (which faces the pair pasture) and listened for a few minutes.  Things were quite and no one was bellarring for their calf or bawling for their mother.  That would define the day as a successful one and the transition from the Baby Room to the Toddler Room a smooth one for the first half of the class of 2013.

Hoss following out two of the 120 pairs that we moved out yesterday.

Pete and Oops following out a 'lazy' calf that kept thinking Oops was it's mother.  In that case, a periodic push to encourage it to pair up and follow its mother is necessary.

The pairs after settling in late yesterday afternoon.

The morning after.  All was still calm with no bellaring or bawling.

Peace, quite and happiness in the Toddler pasture!

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