Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Calving Barn

This year my family will calve out around 40 red and black Simmental cows. It is always a little bittersweet going home a Christmas, seeing those big round cows ready to pop, but knowing I won't see any of their babies until the Summer.
Yes, we have an I love Alberta Beef sign on out barn, which you can see from the road.
Contrary to popular belief even in Canada cows can calve (give birth) outside. We create big fluffy straw packs for them to lay on and make sure they are sheltered from the wind. However, we do have a small calving barn that our cows can be brought into if something is having difficulty calving or it's REALLY cold outside. Our barn isn't heated, but there is enough room to bring in a couple additional cows, allowing "cow heat" to get the temperature rising.

My dad was really smart when we build out barn. It is actually two over size cow sheds the have been slid together with a sliding door on each end. Since the two halves are on skids it allows us to move the building around easily and we didn't need a building permit since it's not a permanent structure.

While I helped my dad and sister set up the chute and panels in the barn, I also came across this.

The green really bent thing was my lucky showstick, back when I was still showing. It's got a few more kinks in it now, and probably won't see the show ring again! (Side note a showstick is used to scratch the cows belly when you are showing them. They like the feeling, and it's calming to them. We use the pointed end to place their feet into position so we are giving the judge the best view of our animal possible.

This post holds a comb right by our walk through gate. Quite a few of our cows are my sister and I's old show cows. We always make sure we grab our comb on our way out to pasture. Just in case one of the girls will stand long enough for us to giving them a brushing.


And finally this is High Country Cattle's new purchase - Elle. I love this picture to her because I think she is saying what am I doing here? See Elle is from Kentucky, I got to see her in Louisville at the North American International Livestock Exposition where she sold at before she headed north. Elle arrive in Alberta a couple of weeks ago, and at the time she had quite a bit less hair than our Canadian cows. She is starting to get a little hairier, but I am still pretty sure she doesn't think much of this snow!

And for all my friends and followers that might not have grown up on a farm if something I am talking about doesn't make sense or you have a question be sure to leave a comment or shoot me an email. I want to help you understand more about where your food comes from as well!


  1. Crystal, I love your posts. They are always genuine and informative! When we finally buy a ranch [we want a cattle operation] I know I will have tons of questions. Last, as a nutritional anthropologist, I love that you are bringing people closer to their food source from not only a local point of view, but also political, technical, etc via #agchat etc. Keep doing what you're doing girl!

  2. Being a fellow Kentuckian, I can sympathize with Elle. Snow is just not one of those everyday things for us!

  3. I prefer spending my evening next to a warm fire, and calving when the grass is green...

    I've started a new cattle management blog which (among other things) questions the "reason" why we do things the way we do....

  4. Crystal! I love your blog. Your format and photographs are so creative and beautiful. I especailly like your comment about karma - very positive!

    Anyway, I wanted to thank you for stopping by my blog. if I can help in anyway, let me know! Happy New Year!


Thanks for stopping by! I love to hear from all my readers. Hope you have a fabulous day.

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