5/25/12

First calf of 2012


Not long after we moved our cattle to their new farm, SS told us a story about her formative memories of cows and calving. Apparently, her father was driving home on a snowy spring day when he spotted a neighbor's newborn calf stranded, shivering in an irrigation ditch. Hoping to extract it, he left little SS in the passenger's seat of his truck and climbed in the pasture to fish the freezing calf out of the water. The mother cow took exception to his altruism and proceeded to bludgeoned him half to death in front of his terrified daughter. For her entire life, this memory has plagued SS, but she was able to overcome it to allow us to house our cattle at her farm.

We assured our friend that her scenario was unlikely to be a problem for us. We have tame cows after all, and May babies. No snow, no attack mommas. Nevertheless, SS is still a bit dodgy about going in the pasture with the bovines, fearing an unsolicited confrontation with one of them.


On May 9th, I got a call from one of the folks who frequents SS's farm informing me that Momma Cow was acting like she was in labor. Contractions, stringy stuff emerging, etc. As I was about an hour away, I texted the Hubby to tell him the news, and he hustled out to find Momma grazing comfortably, with no calf in sight. Hubby  headed into the pasture to look for signs of birth, and quickly discovered the afterbirth...but still no calf. Now turning to Momma Cow for answers, Hubby suddenly recalled SS's calf in the ditch story. Off he marched to the irrigation canal that bordered the cow pasture and found the hot wire that keeps the cattle out of it had been destroyed. Uh oh.

There at the bottom of the canal, was a tiny, very cold newborn calf. His two little front feet were struggling to maintain a foothold on the sheer edge of the canal and he had quite a shiver going. Hubby realized that if he climbed down to grab the baby by himself, he might be stuck as well, so he called the farm friend for help. She held his belt while he hung over the bank of the canal and collected the tyke.

Momma Cow took it in stride, even while Hubby vigorously rubbed the newborn dry. SS soon appeared on the quad and Hubby climbed on the back holding the baby calf, and Momma, now a bit concerned followed closely behind calling to her baby as she walked. Slow and steady, they moved Momma and baby to a new pasture...without a deep canal. Hubby laid little guy in the sun and stepped away to see him hop to his feet and nurse.


You may recall this calf is the one sired by Stenberg Coalition 509 which I blogged about in "Shopping Online for Baby Daddies", and he's our first bull calf. We dubbed the little fella "Buoy" after his aquatic adventure and he is growing and gaining weight well. Thankfully, he has suffered no ill effects from his early struggles, though he remains the only of our cattle to have been baptized.

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