It’s spring, y’all.
Lockhart Cattle Co. announced its first calf of the season Tuesday on Facebook. It’s since had one more born, bringing the baby cow total to two. Jackson Hole Hereford Ranch announced its first calf of 2018 on Instagram on March 14, and named her Miss Dolly.
“We’ve got the crew, we’ve got the manpower,” cattle rancher Chase Lockhart said. “We were all ready to go; we just had a horse saddled.”
The herd is due April 2, he said.
“They always come about a week early,” Lockhart said. Last year, the ranch’s first baby was born around the same time, in late March.
Lockhart Cattle Co. is expecting around 225 calves this spring.
Last year ranchers worried about snow, which can complicate calving. If a calf isn’t completely dried off after birthing and being cleaned off by its mom, it can freeze. While winter storms likely aren’t over just yet, the valley floor is dry — for now.
It’s a time of long hours and hard work at the ranch, even though most cows don’t need help giving birth.
“I would say that 90 percent of them do it all on their own and then we have to assist with about 10 percent of them,” Lockhart said.
Some assistance includes what Lockhart called “mothering up” the calves. Sometimes mother cows will get confused and take the wrong calf.
“The first-time moms, sometimes they don’t know what to do,” Lockhart said. “So we got to help them out.”
Lockhart was out feeding cows when the News&Guide called. He’ll have little rest this spring.
“We’re a little less than 1 percent done,” he said.