In Montana farm/ranch vernacular, calving has its own special lingo. This Calving guide is designed to help outsiders get a better idea of what happens during calving on Montana ranches.
Calving means that cows and heifers (those cows birthing their first young) are having their calves. In many operations this is synchronized by A-I (artificial insemination) so the heifers will calve within a three-week period. A full calving period – including heifers and cows – usually lasts about two months, starting for some in January, for others in May. The answer to “How far along are you?” gives you an indication of when calving started at that ranch.
Once calving gets underway, cows are moved to the drop pasture, a smaller pasture that’s close to the calving shed, a barn with separate stalls. At night, they are brought into a calving corral so the night calver – the person who pulls the all-night shift – can check them regularly. If it