Get ready for cuteness overload. I can't get enough of these baby bison! Watching these little ones run around, play, nap and nurse in Custer State Park was something I'll not soon forget.
Bulls live in separate groups from females and immature bison, joining the herd only during breeding season.
Breeding season, also known as the rut, occurs June through September.
Female bison are ready to mate between the ages of 2-3 yrs, their male counterparts at the age of six.
Bulls pick out one cow at a time and stay by her side - sometimes for several days - fending off other bulls until mating is completed. This behavior is called tending.
Sometimes spectacular fights can result as bulls challenge each other, crashing heads and trying to hook each other with their horns until one or the other backs down. However, in most cases, loud bellows, standing broadside to show size, and mock charges suffice and fierce battles are avoided.
The gestation period is typically about 9 ½ months (270-285 days), and cows can give birth twice over a 3-year period.
Cows usually give birth to one calf between April and June.
Males do not participate in caring for their young.
"In their innocence and wisdom, in their connection to the earth and its most ancient rhythms, animals show us a way back to a home they have never left."
― Susan Chernak McElroy
The cow and her calf will stay isolated for a few days, until they join the herd again.
Bison calves normally weigh around 40-50 pounds.
Calves are capable of walking and running within a few hours of being born; they run about and play with other young bison, much as young domestic cattle do.
Newborn calves have a reddish, light brown coat and lack the distinctive hump of the adult bison.
They begin turning brown and developing horns and shoulder bumps after a couple of months.
Calves nurse up to seven months, after which weaning commences. A young bison can live with its mother till it is one year old.
"A babe in the house is a well-spring of pleasure, a messenger of peace and love, a resting place for innocence on earth, a link between angels and men."
~ Martin Farquhar Tupper
“Always take comfort in your sweet and innocent, childish manifestations, because the day you lose that essence, that glorious eccentricity, the yearning and longing to investigate all that surrounds you in this vast and wondrous world, is the day your soul shall die.”