Seasons on the ranch are windows of opportunity. For example in late winter to early spring this is the time when we can tend the soil and prepare it for spring grass growth by adding nutrients. Clean out the chicken house and spread our organically fed chicken litter (ie. Chicken Poo) and work it into the soil. Trim trees, burn burn-piles. Shred behind the fence lines when the wasps and bees are quieter since we are in a cab-less tractor. But most importantly this is the time of the year when we are very busy welcoming all the babies. Welcoming babies is actually quite stressful and very time consuming. For the calves we are ensuring the cows do not have a complication and then the calves themselves need to be protected from coyotes and vultures. The chicks need time to regain their strength and the ability to temperature regulate before they can move to the chicken house. The puppies need to stay warm, need access to their mother's milk and of course Momma Kangal needs constant monitoring during the whelping process which takes hours and is typically overnight.
During this weekend of vigilant baby monitoring we all celebrated my Mom's birthday. Wesley was in charge of desert, he made a spectacular creme brulee. I made a dinner of pork chops with stuffing, green beans and mashed potatoes while Gabe made ribs. Lets just say there were no left over ribs but I hade quite a few left over pork chops in the fridge. Andi (SIL) managed to get the children cleaned up without complaint (she is magical) and made a lovely artichoke dip. My Auntie and Uncle stopped by likely drawn over for 1 part birthday and 2 parts ribs. Cousin Zach facilitated a sunset target practice while his wife Lianna and baby Maxine were there for everyone to coo and ah over before baby bed time. Mom had a wonderful day and we all enjoyed our family time.
Sunday was just another day of piling up and burning burn piles, checking on chicks, collecting eggs, awaiting the birth of puppies and Mom asking me to examine the female dog about to whelp about five times. At the end of the day we were running off the vultures along with the Momma cow who just gave birth to a beautiful bull calf. As he stood up we realized his front limbs were contracted and he was unable to stand without his front limbs buckling. Contracture is very common in young foals but not something we see as frequently in calves. It is most typically due to the calf being cramped inside momma in the last few weeks of gestation. We will treat him with splints and time. At some point he may need special shoes applied to his hooves to help continue the process of allowing his tendons to stretch. Time will tell but with early intervention we have a chance of him making a full recovery.
Momma Kangal is doing well. She whelped 10 puppies and appears very happy with her litter. Never a dull moment on the Ranch!