Couples that Farm Together, Stay Together: Preg Checking Cattle

My husband and I have one rule: what’s said while working cattle, isn’t really how we feel. It is not uncommon for voices to be raised and a few choice words to go flying, but as soon as we walk out of the barn or leave the pasture, we’ve agreed to forget everything that was said! I don’t know how we don’t have a show on Bravo yet.

It is no secret that my husband, Jacob, and I love to farm. We even love to farm together, and we always remind each other that couples who farm together, stay together. 😉 Like any other couple, we also love to go out on a good date. But being that we farm, we don’t always get the opportunity or time to leave and go somewhere. So, we tend to make a date out of whatever we’re doing on the farm! 

This last week, we needed to review our records to stay current on what cows and heifers are getting close to their due date. We haven’t done a baby calf update in a while, because we have had a bit of a lull with calving. Our first group of calves kept us busy and luckily, we had a couple weeks in between to get all of the maternity pens and main barn cleaned out and freshly bedded. This also helped ensure that the existing calves were growing and developing like we hoped. They all are doing very well, and I can’t believe how big they already are! 

We still have 18 cattle to calve, which will bring our total calf count to 30 if no one has twins (rare, but last year we actually had two sets of twins! I’ll save the topic of calf twins for another post 😉 ). We also bought eight, bred heifers from Iowa about a month ago to help grow our herd. They are all due to start calving this week, but Jacob wanted to preg check the remaining 10 cows and heifers to ensure that they were carrying a calf and to get a better idea if anyone was getting close and needed to be separated out of the main barn. 

So, enter our day date on the farm! I believe we have previously mentioned that Jacob’s parents used to milk dairy cows. We still have all of the infrastructure, which we make work for beef cattle. It isn’t exactly ideal as dairy and beef cattle are quite different (check out Jess’ post, FAQs from a 5-Year-Old: Dairy & Beef Cattle), but we make it work for what we need right now. Hopefully someday we’ll be able to renovate or build the beef cattle working area of our dreams! 😉 All in good time.

Jacob separated out the cows and heifers we needed into the holding area. We then moved them into the chute area so Jacob could palpate them to check for a calf. As you can see in the pictures, he wears a long-sleeved glove to help protect both him and the cow/heifer from bacteria. As Jacob went through the group, I had my trusty clipboard and wrote down the ear tag numbers (how we identify each animal on our farm) and then Jacob told me what he could feel or how long out he thought the mama was from calving.

No matter what we’re doing when we’re working cattle, there is always one that has to be a pain in the booty. This particular heifer pictured has an excellent genetic line, but she just likes to get a little excited and spooks very easily. So, Jacob put her through the head chute to help keep both her, and himself, safe.

Jacob was able to locate and feel a calf in every cow or heifer, which is great news! And based on his calculations, we should start this second round of calving towards the end of this week. But calves can definitely come early too – just like humans! By preg checking, we were able to pinpoint more of an exact timeframe rather than just going by the perceived conceived date. Jacob still checks the herd at least every two or three hours to make sure all of the cattle are healthy, happy, and well taken care of.

And I promise he likes working with me, even if the first picture below doesn’t seem like it. I’m sure when I pull my phone out, he thinks, “Oh great, another picture.” Haha! He humors me and that’s one reason why I love him so dang much. 🙂

Hopefully within the next couple of weeks we will have another baby update for you! Make sure to subscribe below to get all of our calf news sent right to your inbox. 

Rooted in ag and led by faith,


Leave a Reply