After nine months of waiting the heifers finally calved. I was so excited as I watched Clara getting increasingly uncomfortable and preparing to deliver. Would it be a heifer or bull? Black belted or dun or even possibly red? When she was to the point of obvious real labor I called my very good friend and cow mentor, we'll call her Red. I thank the powers that be she came. Things might have turned out very different without her experience and wisdom.
Red showed up as Clara is working on pushing and we can see the tiny, white hooves inside the sack. I was quietly elated and while Red enjoyed my happiness, 'cause she's cool like that, she's done this often enough that it's no big deal to her and she really came because she knows I can be a bit of a neurotic worry-wart. So, Clara finally pushed out a good size calf and I stepped up and pulled all the ook off the face and cleared airways and checked sex while Clara laid there and pretended to be dead. Red was having none of this and after a few friendly and encouraging attempts to get Clara up and at 'em she hauled off and gave her a smack on the rump.
Here is where this incredible experience went from "wonderfully normal" to "What on Earth is Your Problem, You Stupid Heifer!?!?". Clara jumped up after Red's smack and spun around to see the calf. She took one good look and promptly ran away. Yes, she RAN AWAY. As in bolting across the small dry lot and refusing to be herded back to her calf. At this point Red mutters "And this is why I hate heifers". By the time Red and I finally got her back to her calf, he was sitting up and shaking his head and looking a tad confused as to what was going on. Hmmm, join the club, little guy, I'm confused too.
Clara tentatively walks up to him and sniffs and finally gives him a lick. Thusly encouraged, the calf did his best to stand up and Clara lost her $#!t again. After a bit of this Red and I got a halter on Clara and drug both her and the calf into a stall where the battle to get Clara to let the poor little guy nurse began. Red took the lead and expertly maneuvered the kicking, thrashing, bellowing Clara into good spots for the calf to get a fighting chance. Eventually we just locked her into into the head gate and closed the swing bar on her. It makes a pretty solid stanchion so the calf snugged in and got right to business.
An hour later she was the best momma cow you could ask for. Go figure. The littles named him Burger. That lasted about an hour and now his name is Booger.
Then there is Ruby.
Ruby pushed out her calf in between 2 hour checks all by herself and immediately got her cleaned up and nursing. I went down and got them in a stall with no problems.
Ruby had a beautiful belted silver dun heifer calf. MiniMe named her Eleanor and she is a keeper.
The very best part of these very calm and halter trained cows calving is that the entire family can squeeze and snuggle and play with the calves. It has been so much fun to mosey into the barn to snuggle calves and find one of the littles (who was supposed to be doing chores) already there. These little striped calves have already wormed their way into all of us and we'd have it no other way!
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