I wrote this in 2013. Growing up on the farm in SD to becoming a MMA Fighter. It really was a different life living on the farm versus living in Fort Wort Texas. Running my Martial Arts gym being a retired MMA Fighter. But a lot of the experiences that I had as a kid helped form who I am today. And how I think about things now as a adult.
On the farm in South Dakota we had cows, horses, pigs, and we farmed. Starting when I was in 5th grade I started doing the midnight check when we were calving (cows having baby calves). It lasted about 60 days in the spring time. My dad would wake up about 5:00am and do the same thing. This way my dad could sleep more. And hopefully not be so wore out after 60 days of doing this in a row (you don't get weekends or holidays off on the farm).
Most farmers have their calves this time of year. When you have some of the worst weather of the year. Storms, snow melting, still cold and we are having babies calves during all of this. The night check usually involved going out about 12 midnight. Riding the 3 wheeler (this was before 4 wheelers yes I am old) and drive thru the herd. As you were driving thru the herd I was looking for a cow that was about to go into labor. If I saw one I would have to go get my dad until I was old enough to start doing this job by myself.
As I grew older when I found a problem I might wait and see if the cow had the calf on her own. Or chase her up into the barn where we had a Chute we could put her in to help her have the calf. As the years went by and I grew up and gained more confidence I would deal with more and more of the problems on my own.
By the time I was in the 8th grade I would pull the calf and make sure he was up and nursing before I went in to go to sleep. This would usually take a couple hours. I would then have to get up at 7:00am the next morning and go to school. My son Jourdan is in the 8th grade now. I really can't imagine him doing this job. But it was definitely a different time and place to grow up versus living in the city in Fort Worth .
My uncle Lloyd still calves at this time of the year. Last spring they had a huge storm right in the middle of Calving season. If you find a calve in a mud puddle you have to bring the calf into your house put it in the bathtub and warm it up. What I am saying is calving year after year in the spring is a lot of work. My cousin now has his own heard of cows (Bryan Lutter). He calves at the end of summer.
He tries to check his calves once a day. And probably only checks them 5 times a week because he is busy. Since you don't have the extreme weather he doesn't have the problems that other farmers have by calving earlier in the year. Since he started doing this he has managed to not lose a calf over the last couple of years. Another benefit is calves are usually higher in price. Because that is when there are less calves that are being sold in the sales barn. There by bringing a higher price. So why doesn't everyone calf in the summer? Tradition.
If you talk to my dad about why he calved when he did. He said he thought about it but his dad had calved then and everyone else calved then and he just never changed. It would have taken another 6 months for him to get his money was another reason. So he just never did. But calving in the spring was way more labor intensive to earn that calf check. It would cost more to feed the cows with calves and the extra hay trying to keep them dry also would be more expensive. But the most expensive part would be your time.