Spring is an exciting time on any farm. Big plans have been laid all winter and the breeding season starts the previous summer. Bulls join the cows in August and goats and sheep get released close to Christmas.
Although some farms breed so that animals are ready to sell at times of highest demand or price, we usually just want babies when the weather is nice. It saves so much trouble.
For milking animals, we plan when to dry them up so that they have a break before their new baby comes and they make milk again. For the animals that live outside, like sheep and beef cows, we want to wait until the ground is warm and dry and the grass is growing to support good milk production. Often there isn’t enough grass until the middle of May or later.
Gestation for each animal is different:
Horses- 11 months
Cows- 9 months
Sheep- 5 months
Goats- 5 months
Pigs- 3 months, 3 weeks, 3 days
Dogs- 2 months
Planning is required to get the right timing- males and females need to be kept separate until the intended date, and heat cycles need to line up. Some animals only ovulate a few times a year, while others ovulate monthly, and others only when they feel like it (ie. if the weather or health conditions are right).
So what are we expecting this spring?
Piglets in May
Puppies in late April
Calves in May (dairy) and June (beef)
Goat kids start in April
Lambs usually wait for a stormy day around the May long weekend 🙂
And there are always kittens, bunnies and brand new chicks whenever you visit.
Lots to look forward to and only a few more weeks to get ready- see you soon!