Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I saw a calf being born today!

I got really lucky. I was writing a blog post and looking out my living room window at the cattle across the road. Right in my line of view I saw a cow with hooves coming out!

I ran outside and watched her. (I was hoping the people in cars driving by didn't take note of my hurried ensemble of a blue jacket, green shorts, and red shoes. Nothing odd going on here! Just a rainbow standing in a field!)

She would stand, lay down, and push. Eat some grass. Stand, lay down, push. Look at me, wondering what I was doing in her birthing room. 45 minutes passed. The rest of the cows became interested in me and started to come over to lick my clothes and skin.

I couldn't tell if she was progressing, but then she stood up and I saw that the calf's head was out.

I called Kris and asked if this was okay or if I should try to pull the calf. He said that it was fine and that if she was standing up and I tried to pull it, she'd run away from me. He said he'd be over in a few minutes.

She laid down, gave a few hard pushes, a quiet moo-an, and out slid the calf!

I can hardly tell you how excited I was! (And still am, really. Made my day.)

The calf was quiet and still. The mother - she was a good one who knew what to do - immediately started licking it to stimulate and dry it. The calf started breathing and bawling.

She really went to work on this calf. A few other cows gathered around and helped her lick it off. She also ate all the grass around it that had fluid from the birth on it.

Did you know almost all placental mammals eat the placenta of their young? Know what mammals don't? Humans (most, anyway), camels, cetaceans (like whales and dolphins), and pinnipeds (like seals and walruses.) Try to bring that up at your next dinner party!

Kris and Josh came over to check out the new calf. Kris saw it was a bull.

I left her still licking off her calf - she did it for at least 15 minutes - and went inside and told a friend that I'd just seen a calf born! She said, "Great! That's really going to free up your schedule this spring."

It was a record day this year ... EIGHT calves born! But yes, this one is clearly my favorite.


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