- Kelly Whitmoyer and Sandy McNamara
A Time for New Life ~ Spring Calving
Updated: Dec 7, 2022
There are many wonderful things that set life in Montana apart from other states and spring is one of them. It is my favorite time of year. Just the word 'spring' itself is happy, momentarily summoning to mind soft images of sunshine on green grass, daffodils, bunnies and baby chicks. Then I look outside and reality sets in. Spring in Montana brings very harsh, wet weather. So, what makes this season so great you might ask? New life, of course, pastures and fields of new life!
While many of us can celebrate the precipitation of 'mud season' for the great spring skiing/boarding it brings to the mountains, our Montana ranchers celebrate the new life it brings, and they brace themselves for calving season.
Though my herd is small yet (the pair pictured belongs to my lil girl, Annabelle), I know well enough the challenges of this time of year. Ranchers will endure miserably wet, often blizzard-like, dangerously cold-to-freezing weather at all hours of the day to ensure the lives of their newborn calves. These vulnerable babies born into such an environment can soon freeze to death (even freeze to the ground) if not immediately dried and tended to. Ranch families do not take lightly their responsibility of guardianship.
Though not a single rancher I know would trade their life for anything, the hardships of ranch life can wear hard on a soul. So, when you're passing by a field of cows on your way home from the ski hill this time of year, pause a moment to notice them, you just might be fortunate to witness a birth (and consider sending out good vibes and prayers for the Montana rancher).
For more on the trials of spring calving season in Montana check out this article by Perry Backus of Ravalli Republic