With the arrival of spring at Ancilla Beef & Grain Farm comes the arrival of newborn calves. The first, a male, was born Tuesday, March 8. As of Tuesday, March 15, seven of the expected 101 calves have made their way into the world. So far, there are three females and four males.
In this herd, which is the Angus-Slaers breed, all but 11 are naturally conceived. The 11 AI calves (conceived through artificial insemination) are all due at the beginning of April. Like humans, the gestation period for calves is 9 months. The average birth weight is 70-90 pounds, with the females being on the lighter side.
To date, only two deliveries have required assistance. Co-directors Tim and Joe Reinhold have assisted two of the mothers by chain pulling the calf’s legs when their deliveries became difficult. Security and Support Staff team leader Zeb Smitha, who was making his rounds last Tuesday, assisted Tim and Joe with the year’s first delivery. “He asked if we needed any help,” Tim said. “Sure. We always take help,” Tim replied.
“He ain’t a bad puller,” Joe surmised. About the experience, which was his first calf delivery, Zeb said, “It was pretty nice to be present for the birth of first calf of the year, especially when everything was going well for the mother, calf, and Tim and Joe. It’s spring, and it means that summer is right around the corner.”
Ancilla Beef and Grain Farm, a ministry of the Poor Handmaids, operates in a manner that values and respects the soil and animals. It grows hay, corn and soybeans that feed the cattle. Ancilla’s prime beef is raised all-natural.