Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: central Alberta
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 313 Post(s)
Still not sure there is an ideal season.
We calved in March for years. The worst of both worlds, cold, snow, need to check at night, and warm up calves, plus mud, wet, sick calves.
April even worse for mud and sick calves.
May conflicts with seeding.
June, July, August, is less effort and stress, calves spread out stay healthier, but have a completely different set of problems. We move cows every few days, and have to find every baby calf and make sure they move. If a calf is sick and lays down in tall grass or trees, they aren't noticed until too late. Calving or sucking trouble can mean hours of effort moving them to facilities. Never had trouble with twins calving confined, always have trouble with accepting twins calving on grass. Predators are much more of a problem with baby calves spread out on grass. We had a run of sick baby calves in late May last year out on grass, while seeding. trying to check multiple times, treating, electrolyting, hauling them home was not much fun.
Fall calving conflicts with harvest, and weather can be all over the map, cows usually far from home and moving often. That said we had 4 accidental fall calves this year(kept some open cows over, then the neighbors bull broke in). Went out in Early November and found 3 baby calves in one day, one cold day too, one more just before New Years.
Winter calving is just a lot of work and requires a lot of facilities. If set up for it, and have enough people that sleep is still possible, probably not so bad.
Back to April May calving now, after doing May June for recent years. Trying to be mostly done before seeding. Check twice a day, except in bad weather at peak season, cut back to once a day for the stragglers.