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May 28, 2020

4/24/2020 11:56:00 AM
Calving and chickens continue for Circle L Ranch during COVID-19, blessed with set of triplet calves
The stay at home order has put a pause on many things in our lives.
Farming however is one of the few industries that is still continuing during the pandemic. Not only does farming continue, it has also brought on a rare occurrence for Dennis and Carolyn Laufenberg, owners of Circle L Ranch. The ranch is located just outside of Highland.
The rare occurrence came when the Laufenbergs were blessed with a set of triplet heifer calves during this calving season.
Calving season is an exciting time for farmers, and everyday revolves around cattle. Circle L Ranch raises primarily Angus beef cattle, with 200 breeding cows and 96 calves on the ground to date.
During cattle rounds on Thursday night April 16, Dennis came across two new calves who were trying to nurse from the mother. At first it appeared that the calves were a set of twins. Multiple sets of twins are common and are born at the farm each year.
However, as Dennis got closer, "two became three," when he noticed the mother's water sac on the ground with the calf still inside! When Dennis pulled the calf out of it, it appeared lifeless at first glance. But given a few chest pumps, the young calf coughed a little bit and started breathing on its own.
It was amazing to say the least. When Dennis saw this, he had to share the news
"Dennis came back on the ranger and told my daughter and I 'you've gotta see this," Carolyn said. "Dennis doesn't really get excited about much and this was really exciting for him."
The mother was very calm with her three calves and also with Dennis. Dennis supplied them with supplemental colostrum (the first secretion of milk from the mammary glands after giving birth, rich in antibodies) to give them more energy.
According to the Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University, the odds of having triplets are about 1 in 105,000. At birth, calves typically weigh anywhere from 70-90 pounds. These three little beauties weighed in around 40-50 pounds.
Farming has its challenges and at times sees its fair share of losses. Since twins and triplets scale in at lower birth weights, they sometimes have a lower survivability rate.
This is not the case however, as the triplets are surviving.
"The calves are thriving with a bottle of milk replacer each day to supplement the mother's milk," Carolyn said. "They are fun to watch as they don't sit still very long."
Not only does Circle L Ranch have cattle, they will be receiving 150 meat chickens very soon, making life on the farm more eventful.
It is a family affair for the Laufenbergs when it comes to raising cattle. Dennis and Carolyn have three children: Donald, 17, Darren, 14, and Emily, 11. Along with the calves and cows, the Laufenberg men are raising 23 holstein steers. They bottle feed the calves twice daily, with Emily's help. The calves will be weaned to buckets and eventually be in the feeding lot later on being sent to market.
They are also working on their fair projects. All three children each have a home born and raised steer that they will take to the Iowa County Fair, that takes place during Labor Day weekend.
The pandemic has caused a lot of uncertainty, and puts people in emotional and mental strains. The Dodgeville Chronicle agrees that a feel good story is always a good thing when we are faced with the unknown.
"This unexpected surprise came in a time when we can all use a little dose of hope," Carolyn said.

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