By Kelsey Pagel for Tri-State Livestock News

10. Just plan on if it can go wrong, it will go wrong. And it will go wrong on the coldest possible day when the windchill is -50 degrees.

9. Even though you know exactly when the first one is going to hit the ground, they will be sure to calve the day before you plan on bringing them home to the barn, even though you thought you planned plenty of time before the first one is due. It will be the meanest cow that won’t let you near the calf so she can follow to the pen. You will spend hours trying to get her to the pen so she isn’t left alone.

8. Not only will the waterer freeze up, but the pipeline will freeze, the well will freeze, everything is going to freeze. The temperature isn’t going to be warm enough to unthaw until about the middle of June.

7. The diesels will gel, no matter how much treatment you put in. Your electric bill will double with everything plugged in 24/7.

6. The cow with the biggest bag and ginormous quarters will calve on the most frigid day. She will refuse to come in and you will swear that you’re going to sell her, but will forget once weaning time comes around and she has the biggest calf.

5. The first calf heifers will have zero maternal instincts with their own babies, but will steal every other calf in the pasture.

4. The portable heater that you made sure was ready to go before it got cold, will all of a sudden decide not to work. All of the small engine mechanics will be swamped trying to fix all the generators that haven’t been used in 10 years so you will have to figure it out yourself.

3. You will get up every 2-3 hours to check for new babies, but one will invariably calve right after you’re out at midnight and you will have to be up all night trying to save the almost frozen baby.

2. There will be one event that you want to attend. You will plan for this. You will check the cows before going to get ready, but on the last check before pulling out of the driveway, there will be a backwards one you have to pull. Guaranteed. You will never be on time for anything if you get to go at all.

1. You will swear up side and down the other that you are never doing this again. You are pushing back calving and never going to calve in the winter time. Except you won’t. When you’re ready to go plant, you’ll be beyond grateful the cows are on grass and growing requiring almost nothing from you.

Kelsey Pagel | Courtesy photo