Saturday, January 30, 2010

Spring Calving - Care of Newborns

Spring calving is just around the corner.  The following article addresses getting the newborn calf breathing well.  If your cow or heifer has had a lengthy calving ordeal, the newborn may need help even if it appears to be breathing. 


"Delayed passage through the birth canal in the face of a faltering placenta compromises oxygenation of the calf. Although the calf is able to breathe as soon as its nose passes the lips of the vulva, expansion of the chest is restricted by the narrow birth canal. This situation is seriously aggravated when continuous forced traction is applied. As soon as the calf's head has passed the lips of the vulva, traction should be interrupted, the nostrils cleared of mucus and cold water applied to the head.

Again, when the calf is completely delivered, primary attention is directed toward establishing respiration. Mucus and fetal fluids should be expressed from the nose and mouth by external pressure of the thumbs along the bridge of the nose and the flat fingers underneath the jaws, sliding from the level of the eyes toward the muzzle. The common practice of suspending the calf by it hindlegs to "clear the lungs", must be questioned. Most of the fluids that drain from the mouth of these calves probably come from the stomach, and the weight of the intestines on the diaphragm makes expansion of the lungs difficult. The most effective way to clear the airway is by suction.

Respiration is stimulated by many factors, but only ventilation of the lungs, allow us to render help immediately. Brisk rubbing of the skin and tickling inside the nostril with a piece of straw also has a favorable effect. The phrenic nerve can be stimulated with a sharp tap on the chest slightly above and behind where the heartbeat can be felt."

Source: Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Extension Cattle Reproduction Specialist

Friday, January 29, 2010

Full Moon on the Trinity River - and did you know tonight's full January moon once belonged to February?

Above, a nice rendering of the the Trinity River and a Full Moon from an old book on Texas history, click the image for the full text.  Below, comments on February weather from 82 years ago.

The Weather for February - (The Farm Journal, Phil., PA, 1918)
        The story reads, " Then came old February, sitting in an old wagon, for he could not ride," perhaps because he was so abused, for February has always been a much abused month. The year used to begin with March, and February was last. February then had one day less than any other month, or twenty-nine days. In 1752 the month was shifted to its present place, and the new year began in January.  
        When old Emperor Augustus wanted to add an extra day to the month bearing his name, it was taken from February, the month least able to spare it. In 1866 they even took away February's full moon, giving January two and March two. No such thievery had ever been practiced on any month before in history. Astronomers have apparently made better laws since then, for they promise that such.a thing will not befall any month again for 2,500,000 years. So February will have a full moon every year during our lifetime, anyway.
     In an average February half the days are cloudy ; this year the sun will not be seen the first five days of the month—at the north pole. So the groundhog will not see his shadow there when he comes out of his hole February 2. See how his forecast works this year. He always consults his own comfort when he makes his exit from winter quarters too soon. Our average February temperature ranges from 7° in Minnesota to 65° in Florida.
" February fill the dyke
Either with the black or white ;
If it be white it's the better to like," 
expresses a prevailing opinion that a snowy February means a fruitful year. There is much truth in the saying, for heavy snow has a good effect on the soil. Look for the first robin the last of the month. A better indication of spring is a box of early tomato plants, a seed-corn tester or a chilled lamb in the kitchen.
J.West's Colonel Beau at 22 Months Old, Owned by Al & Dalene Ross

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Spring Calving Time is Almost Here!

Another great article from  Click the blog title link for full text.  Presented here is Halliburton Boopsie, AKA Wanda Mae, going through the various stages of calving a bull calf sired by J.West's King Cole.



by: Stephen B. Blezinger  Ph.D, PAS

 ". . .We know, fortunately, that most calves are born alive and unassisted. We also know that those that require assistance create some of the greatest headaches on the farm. This is especially true on ranches that purchase or retain and calve out heifers. Some current data indicates that an estimate 16 to 18 percent of all heifers calved require some type of assistance with the calving process. That can be compared to about three to four percent of cows which may require assistance. . .(Note: Generally, British White cows rarely need calving assistance unless it's an unusual problem, like a breech birth.)

The Precalving Period
Management during the last third of pregnancy is very critical, especially for the growing heifer and developing calf. The producer must keep in mind that the heifer must continue to grow structurally and gain body weight during this 90-day period. The weight of the fetus and fetal fluids and membranes will increase about .90 lb per day. Therefore, the heifer needs to gain about 1 to 1.5 lbs per day to sustain her growth and that of the fetus. However, a heifer should not gain excessive weight and become fat as this may increase the likelihood of calving difficulty since a significant amount of this fat may be deposited in and around the reproductive organs. 

If the heifer is on a deficient nutritional level, she will draw nutrients from her body tissues to provide for the developing calf. The calf may lack vigor or energy at birth and need help nursing. These heifers may be short of colostrums, which is a component of the first milk given by the female that passes on crucial antibodies to the calf that helps build the calf's immune system. In extreme cases, the calf may be born dead or die shortly after birth. Milk production will usually be decreased, which will reduce growth rate and weaning weight of the calf. Also, the heifer will tend to rebreed late or may fail to rebreed. All this said, it is obvious that producers cannot afford to compromise the nutritional plane of bred heifers. 

Some producers feel that reducing energy and/or protein intake prior to calving will reduce calf birth weights and, subsequently, calving difficulty and calf losses. Research does not agree with this. Restricting feed to heifers may reduce calf birth weights, but does not reduce calving difficulty. It may also decrease the percent of cows cycling and conceiving during the breeding season and it may reduce the weaning weight of the calves. Therefore, the practice of reducing feed to heifers in average or thin condition prior to calving is not advisable. However, feeding excess protein or energy to heifers should also be avoided."

Friday, January 22, 2010

Chef's Smuggling Donkey Salami? Funny...........

Another great blogger from The, Free membership required to vew blogs.  Click the Title Link above for original blog source.................
  Chef’s Table
By: Michael Formichella

Chefs caught smuggling meat
"I just finished reading a story on the Internet about the escapades of several chefs trying to smuggle charcuterie back into the United States from abroad. Mind you, rules are tougher after the Christmas Day bomb debunking.  The bomb didn't explode, but it spurred demand for pat-down searches, body scans and more-meticulous baggage examinations for airline passengers headed for the U.S.
One chef was thwarted at the gate by customs and his bags were confiscated for attempting to smuggle in salami made from donkey meat, which was hidden in shoes buried in his luggage. This particular chef swears his motivation was merely educational: he was taking the sample back to reverse engineer the process and recreate the product for his own business.
Our government isn't moved by these interests. Sausages and hams "are much more dangerous than people think," says Janice Mosher, an official at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which seizes about 4,000 pounds of prohibited meat, plant and animal products per day. "Those items truly have the ability to spread disease." The government is concerned that bacteria from a smuggled piece of meat will spread through the ecosystem, infecting livestock and hurting agricultural production, Ms. Mosher says, as quoted by the New York Times.
Many years ago I was on assignment in Gander, Newfoundland – way, way up north, above Nova Scotia. We stayed at a small bed and breakfast during our trip, and the owner of the establishment shared some of her prized moose and caribou meat, which she had canned. Upon my return to the states I was singled out of 75 passengers to be inspected, of course. Now, this was before 9-11 and customs were fairly loose then. Upon opening my baggage the officer found the two marked, unlabeled cans of mystery game meats. One beared a big M, the other a big C. "What is this?" he asked, thinking I don't know what. I responded matter-of-factly, "Moose and caribou, of course."  Well, after a twenty-minute lecture on smuggling contraband I was released with my cans of meat and told never to do this again.
 My question is, should we be allowed to bring small amounts of cured meats into this country for our own personal consumption? There are such amazing products that we can't get here in the US. Do we have to only eat these items when we visit and then dream about them in between?
Will I now be put on a permanent checklist for extra screening when I go through customs?"

Is There a Place in this Category for British White Cattle?

UPDATE 11/8/2011:  J.West's Gidget, pictured below, has had her first calf, a pretty heifer calf sired by J.West's S.S. Carter.  As well, our breeding program focused on low birth weight, Classic frame score 2 and 3 cattle has progressed well the past couple of years and we are commencing sales Classic Frame Miniature British White Cattle.  See Gidget and her newborn heifer in September 2011 at this link.  And visit our new web site featuring Classic Frame British White Beef Cattle at

(source:, article link is no longer active.)

"Although the cattle may be small, the competition was not. The Miniature Zebu, Miniature Herefords and Lowline Angus Cattle shows highlighted the morning activities in Reliant Center Tuesday.
Dottie Love of Fancher Love Ranch in Ennis, Texas, stood with her 4-year-old miniature Zebu cow "Rocket," as she waited to walk in the show ring. "Rocket," full-grown, stands about 35 inches tall and weighs about 300 pounds.

"Zebus are the smallest breed of cattle, but are naturally sized," Love said. Along with Love and "Rocket" was the cow's 3-month-old calf "Roosevelt," who compares in size to a young Labrador Retriever.

Love said the Zebu breeds have characteristics similar to Brahman cattle and that the term Zebu actually means "humped cow." The breed was brought to the United States in the 20th century for use in zoos and also as circus attractions, she said. Their small size played a role within the "side show" acts.

Region 6 director of the Miniature Hereford Breeders Association Greg Schulz said, "As long as there have been Herefords, there have been Mini-Herefords." 

This is Schulz's fourth year to bring his Miniature Herefords to the Show from his ranch in Bay City, Texas. He said most Miniature Herefords are likely a descendent of a bull named "Anxiety IV," and that they are all registered with the American Hereford Association, just as the larger Hereford cattle.

Miniature Hereford mature bulls must stand less than 48 inches tall, while a mature female can be no taller than 45 inches. The average weight is between 700 to 1,000 pounds.

Trevor Smith, founder of Smith & Associates in Kiowa, Colo., brought his Lowline Angus to the Houston Livestock Show for the second year. His business is a Lowline marketing group that specializes in breeding, sales, herd consulting and more.

"Lowlines are the descendants of Angus cattle," Smith said. "They are the result of a 40- year breeding project."

With an approximate shoulder height of 40 inches, mature bulls weigh between 1,100 to 1,800 pounds, and mature females weigh between 900 to 1,100 pounds, Smith said."

********Source:  HLSR Web, follow title post link above.