Prenatal care is super important for expectant women and that’s no different for expectant mother cows. We use the summer months to impregnate our cows. We do that either by turning out a bull with mother cows or artificially inseminating the cattle here at the farm. It’s all really no different from humans – we [...]

Prenatal care is super important for expectant women and that’s no different for expectant mother cows. We use the summer months to impregnate our cows. We do that either by turning out a bull with mother cows or artificially inseminating the cattle here at the farm. It’s all really no different from humans – we just aim to have all of our baby calves delivered within a two-month period.

Each fall we bring a local veterinarian to our farm to “preg check” our cows that have a chance of being pregnant. Bryson Lacey (http://www.smokeyvalleyanimalhospital.net/) is the guy for the job. Unfortunately we don’t have a simple and non-invasive means of telling if our cows are pregnant so we go about it a little differently;  think of a pap smear – just a little more invasive. But it doesn’t hurt the cattle and it’s a very reliable way to determine the pregnancy status of each animal.

Checking each mother cow is important, especially as feed costs continued to rise. A mother cow must produce a calf each year to remain productive and useful. When a mother cow goes a year without producing a cow we elect to sell her to someone that wants to put the time and money into fattening her for beef.

Despite the drought and less-than-desirable pasture conditions, we had a great pregnancy rate among our mother cows and heifers – first time mothers. And this winter, the Sawyer Farm will be filled with adorable, fun and feisty baby calves.

Preg checking heifers takes a team effort. Derek, left, and his father, Doug, right, help move cattle through the pens and chute to allow the veterinarian to check each animal.