The temperature was 20 degrees below zero. Ranchers were dressed in not one, but two pairs of thick Carhartt coveralls. If there was any moisture at all, it froze almost immediately. At the Sitz Angus Ranch in Harrison, Montana, the weather wasn’t going to impede the work needed to be done that February day.
The cowboys spirit knows no boundaries…it was in the thick of calving season on the ranch and with temperatures as bitter as they were, the ranch crew was charged with putting the livestock’s well-being before their own comfort (like every other day) and help cows have healthy baby calves.
I followed along with Rebecca Timm and Kurt Puckett as they brought cows about to calve in from the icy, snow-covered pasture to the warm, straw-filled barn. They moved the cows in the building so the calf wouldn’t have such a temperature shock when it came out of its 100 degree home.
Even with around-the-clock care, sometimes the cows have a quick delivery and aren’t seen in time to bring into the barn before they calve. That’s what happened the day I was on the ranch to one cow in particular. Only a few minutes after she delivered her calf, Kurt and Rebecca found the little one and brought it in as fast as they could. He wasn’t up and moving as he should…instead, laid flat and barely was breathing. Here’s what happened…
The ranchers hypothesized that the mother cow may have accidentally sat on her calf which caused him some internal injuries and the inability to urinate. The cold weather wasn’t the only factor to his unfortunate situation. Even though the calf didn’t make it through the night, hundreds of other calves did with tender care from the ranch crew. We all wish that the one featured in the video could have been saved, but the dedicated ranchers gave everything they had for hours on its care. That’s the cowboy spirit!