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#OurYYC Apprentice: Jordan Witzel assists in the birthing of calves

Global Calgary Meteorologist Jordan Witzel is heading out in the community to experience some of the many careers that make up our dynamic city.

Through the #OurYYC Apprentice series, Witzel will try his hand at different jobs for one day – to see just how challenging they can be.

This month was a field trip of sorts to the Scott Stock farm just north of Calgary.

I arrived in the morning just as a blazing southern Alberta sunrise was unfolding. It was an absolutely beautiful scene and nature had more to provide as the day unfolded.

The typical calving season keeps most Alberta cattle farmers busiest from January through June. On this morning, several calves had already been born overnight and were ready to be tagged. This was a job to be done while waiting for more cows and heifers to give birth.

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#OurYYC Apprentice: There’s plenty of work to be done on a cattle farm
#OurYYC Apprentice: There’s plenty of work to be done on a cattle farm

The job of cattle farming requires a lot of patience, especially among heifers (who, by name, are giving birth to their first calf.) Continuous monitoring is the task at hand because these first-time birthers are still trying to figure out what’s going on.

The heifers often don’t push as naturally as cows might, so it’s the job of the farmer is to hop in and help the process along – much like a doctor would during a human birth. Chains on the calves legs are often used as a way of completing a difficult birth, in a similar fashion to the use of forceps in a human birth. With more extreme complications, such as a breach birth or twisted legs, you have to get your hands dirty!

This was an amazing experience and I found myself reflecting on the honest work of this lifestyle.