Butler County Times Gazette
My name is Katie Stockstill-Sawyer and my husband, Derek, and I own and operate a farm and livestock operation in Central Kansas.
The Calf Nursery
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About this blog
By Katie Stockstill Sawyer
My name is Katie Stockstill-Sawyer and my husband, Derek, and I own and operate a farm and livestock operation in Central Kansas. I married into the farming world in December 2010 and have spent every minute learning all that I can about farming and ...
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New to the Farm
My name is Katie Stockstill-Sawyer and my husband, Derek, and I own and operate a farm and livestock operation in Central Kansas. I married into the farming world in December 2010 and have spent every minute learning all that I can about farming and the rural lifestyle. I work in town as the marketing and communications manager for a commercial construction company, mobile occupational services company and safety consulting and training firm. In the hours outside the office, I help on the farm in any way I can – and sometimes that means just staying out of the way. This blog tracks my experiences as I learn what a life on the farm really means. I wouldn’t change this lifestyle for the world. Farmers and ranchers are some of the hardest working individuals in the world and they do what they do 365 days a year to ensure everyone has access to a safe, healthy and affordable food supply. If you want to learn more about agriculture or our operation, please don’t hesitate to contact me on this blog or at katie.sawyer@sawyerlandandcattle.com. I would love to show you around.
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By Katie Stockstill-Sawyer
Jan. 24, 2013 11:17 a.m.

First-time mother cows and their calves spend the winter at the pasture outside our home. Mothers and calves identify one another through smell.

First-time mother cows and their calves spend the winter at the pasture outside our home. Mothers and calves identify one another through smell.



We’ve all seen the iconic image of a swooning adults watching newborns resting in their basinets behind the glass wall of the hospital nursery. The babies, only recently welcomed into the world, are oohed and awed over as they sleep, play and explore their new surroundings.

Baby calves rest in the straw outside our home. Calves, like small children, split their time between playing and resting.

Baby calves rest in the straw outside our home. Calves, like small children, split their time between playing and resting.



With calving season in full swing at our farm, I am lucky enough to have a calving nursery of sorts right outside my front window. Our heifers – female cows that deliver their first calf this year – calve at our cattle facilities about five miles from our home. But after the calves are about a day old, mother and calf are moved to the pasture outside our house.

Mother cows are naturally very protective of their young. When I entered the pasture to capture a few pictures of the little ones, mothers quickly found their calves, making sure to keep me at a safe distance.

Mother cows are naturally very protective of their young. When I entered the pasture to capture a few pictures of the little ones, mothers quickly found their calves, making sure to keep me at a safe distance.



Before being allowed to roam freely, we hold the new mothers and their babies in a smaller pen for about 24 hours. Keeping the new mothers and calves confined allows us to keep a closer eye on them, ensuring everyone is doing well and the calves are up, playing and sucking mother’s milk.

Unlike humans that take a year or so to walk, calves are up on all fours within hours of being born. While they have the ability to walk, it usually takes a couple of days to master the art of running and playing. Watching the little ones learn how to navigate through their new world is one of the highlights of calving season. After only a few days, the calves are running, playing, climbing and exploring. It’s a rewarding site for my husband and I as it means we have successfully welcomed another new life into the world and another calf into our herd.

Calving will continue through February and March, which means we have a couple hundred more baby calves to welcome and enjoy and a couple of hundred new members of our family farm.

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