Calving In Winter

Feb 26, 2019

Calf and cow
Credit stiina

Snow and bitterly cold temperatures have their icy grip on Montana, making for sleepless nights and extra worry for ranchers in the midst of calving.

This subzero weather put stress on the cow, the calf and the rancher. Just ask Wanda Pinnow.  

She and her husband Craig have a cow/calf operation, Brackett Butte Ranch a third generation ranch, near Baker. Temperatures Sunday night were expected to dip to -14 degrees with a wind chill of -30 degrees to -40 degrees.

That meant checking on their cows every 90 minutes—the makings of a very long night.

Pinnow said at the midnight check they found a set of twins.

“We brought them both in, “said Pinnow. “My husband brought the first one in and I was getting it warmed up because it was pretty cold. And I’m sorry to say that one is not going to make it. With a set of twins, a momma will lick off one—favor the one-- and forget the other one.”

Pinnow admitted the loss of a calf is difficult.

“We take it to heart,” Pinnow said.” Our whole reason for doing this is to save these babies. It comes down to you can’t believe you lost one. And you take it to heart. It’s not something you take lightly.” 

Wanda Pinnow
Credit American National Cattlewomen

This is a busy time for the Brackett Butte Ranch, and the beginning of a very busy year for Wanda. At the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in New Orleans in January, she was elected as president of the American National Cattlewomen, replacing outgoing ANCW president Gwen Geis of Gillette, WY. Pinnow is a past president of Montana Cattlewomen.