Happy Mother’s Day!

May 11, 2012 6:28 pm

Mother’s Day on the farm isn’t just for people. Some of our cows and wallabies are moms, too! To honor our farm animal moms this weekend, we’re going to tell you a bit about them.

A mama and her newborn.

Our herd manager, Blake Hansen, answered a few questions about the cows…

How long is the gestation period for cows? How long are they usually in labor?

Cows have a 9 month gestation period, just like humans. They are usually in labor for anywhere from 3 to 10 hours.

How long do calves stay with their mamas?

Calves stay with their moms for about an hour and a half. If a calf is born in the middle of the night, it may be a little longer. The reason we separate them is because the mom needs to begin milking with a machine, and we don’t want the calf to get used to nursing instead of drinking out of a bottle.

How many calves do most cows have in their lifetime?

Cows have their first calf at the age of 2 and the goal is to get them pregnant once a year every year after that. So a 9-year-old cow has had 7 calves in her lifetime. Giving birth rejuvenates a cow’s milk supply. We’ll keep a cow around as long as she keeps getting pregnant.

This Holstein cow had twins – one red and one black. It’s really rare for twins to be different colors.

How many calves have been born on the farm this spring?

We haven’t had as many calves lately as we normally do. This is because about 9 months ago, the cows had a hard time getting pregnant in the summer heat. Generally we average about one calf born every other day. Our cows calve throughout the year so we have a consistent milk supply.

What about the wallabies?
The gestation for wallabies is 30 days. Then the joey is birthed and crawls up into the pouch on its own. The wallaby will stay inside the pouch and nurse for about a year. Right now we don’t have any female wallabies on the farm, so there won’t be any babies for awhile. We just have 1 fixed male and 2 breeding males. Their names are Pockets, Satchel and Aussie.

A joey peeks out of its pouch.