Calving Book Terminology

Most ranchers I know keep a calving book.  They carry it almost everywhere they go from the start of calving until they wean calves.  It is a cowboy’s lifeline.

We keep two calving books.  One stays in the calving box.  We keep ear tags, ear tag buttons, the tagger, the calving book and a pencil in it.  The box strapped to the front of a 4-wheeler at all times.  J keeps an identical calving book that is kept in his shirt pocket. 

A calving book has several columns to keep a rancher organized.  This is how the calving book works on our operation:

Cow No. –Self explanatory.

Calf No. – Again self descriptive.

Birth Date – This is the day the calf is tagged.  When the cows are calving we tag at least twice a day.

Sex – Bull or Heifer.

Calving Ease Code – In this column we put a check mark when the calf has had it’s at birth shot.

Birth Wt. – This is where we mark down if the calf is a BB = Black Baldly.  Unless you are me and write in BWF = Black White Face.    

Remarks – This is where J keeps his personal notes.  He makes comments on such things as:

Pulled – If the calf was pulled.  Pulled Tail First or Backwards Calf.

Graft – If the calf was grafted on to another mother.

Twins – Especially if the twins are a bull and heifer.

Woofy – The cow has an attitude problem.  This also has variants such as extremely woofy or MEAN! really woofy.  These cows are few, but important to note.

Knock Down Calf, Hit Calf, or Kicked Calf – The cow knocks down her calf and will not let the calf suck.  Could also be noted as Hated Calf- Sell.  These are characteristics of an unmotherly cow.

Walked Away – This means the cow calved and walked away from her calf.  Again, not a very motherly action.

Granny – This cow claimed or tried to claim a calf that was not her own.

Suckled Calf – J had to help the calf suck.

Big Bag – Cow has big teats and/or the calf had a hard time sucking when it was born.

Red Cow – We have a few red cows and marking them in the book helps when checking cattle in the summer.

While helping J tag and do barn chores on Saturday morning I saw a something new T.I.  This means Temporary Insanity and is when the cow has characteristics of stupidity then gets over it and loves her calf.  

If you turn to the last pages of the book J keeps track of calves that have been treated, the date they were treated and what he gave them. Also recorded are any calves that have died and the date.  He also keeps a list of cows that need to be sold.

J has every calving book since we moved home.  During calving season he often checks last year’s book to see if there were any comments made about the cow in question.  As you can tell a calving book has a wealth of information important to managing a cattle heard.

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6 Responses to Calving Book Terminology

  1. Kari Sanders says:

    Carl knows where all his past calving books are, but not his wedding ring (it’s not lost – I have it). I purposely didn’t spend very much money on it as I knew it wouldn’t get worn. Smart thinking on my part. Have a good week.

  2. Janet says:

    We have the similiar list of descriptions. But it is Leary = she’s ok but not sure of us. And the several of levels of watch and it ends in DO SELL. Needless to say there are few DO SELLs that make it passed weaning time that fall. Once in a while a watch at the highest level sneeks by if someone else is on the book at Preg time. ( that is a oh my goodness act. )

    Did you mention the breakfast conference of comparing spouse books?

    Easy and safe calving to all the livestock people.

    • Robyn says:

      It is hard to sell a leary cow when she has a big calf at her side in the fall! J’s Cows to sell list is long in the spring and short in the fall.

      What is this Breakfast Conference you mention?

  3. Lynn says:

    have a similar book, cow ID, date when calf is born, weight of calf when born, color,(black, cross bred, red etc) , bull or hfr, sire, AI or bull bred, orgin of mother, and MPPA of mother and a space for notes, we use to have a breakfast conference, but not so much anymore….
    we are surely waiting for the sunshine to appear, but is so nice not to have the snow and wind……..always somthing to be thankful for……

  4. Amy Kirk says:

    I this post-great blog idea. My hubby records new calves similarly. I just use a small notebook and keep a running list of what’s left to calve now that we’re over half done. My husband keeps all of his past record books too–his are calf recordbook & calendar in one and has a hemmorage if he can’t find it–it’s his brain on paper. He’s always referrring to last year’s record book took too; must be rancher DNA. I did a post w/a picture of his but real quick; he hardly lets me touch it.

    • Robyn says:

      I wanted to take a pict of the calving book, but J said “Why?” and “Don’t take a pict of a page w/ lots of issues on it.” I actually used last years book to make my list of terms b/c I did not want to ask to borrow the current book.

      I only touch the book that is in the box and record in it when we are tagging calves. Every once in a while I am given permission to write in J’s book to transfer info.

      Speaking of not touching a ranchers stuff … J does his own laundry during calving season. I am not allowed to wash his chore clothes. I kind of like this rule! Lucky for me he is a neat freak.

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