A six-heifer day! But with all these births ... it's still really hard to see a calf being born. Seeing them moments after birth is easy. But watching a birth is difficult.
We watched a cow who was in labor for awhile, but she didn't seem very close. We walked away, and a few minutes later she had twin heifers. Hooray!
A cow was very close to the road, so the boys and I went to try to see her give birth.
She was not happy. She did NOT like us being there. Plus, since the cows are always very curious, this is mostly what I could see. A crowd was blocking her.
When I say curious, I mean super curious. Even though they see me all the time, they still like to taste and smell me. There's a lot of protecting my camera from this:
She got mad at the commotion we were causing and stomped off far away across the pasture. I felt like I was badgering her, so I let her go. She obviously wanted her privacy (most cows do - they like to go off alone from other cows, even) and I didn't want to distract her.
After awhile, in between feeding calves, Kris and I were watching her and he went closer. He said she didn't look like she was pushing with enough energy, so he helped her by pulling out the calf. I felt like this was my fault, because she was distracted and had to use her energy to walk away from me. (Note - be sneakier. Perhaps don't bring along three small boys to surreptitiously watch a skittish cow give birth.) Here he is pulling out the calf:
As he left her to lick off her calf, her friends quickly closed in to watch:
The boys got to help for the first time this year with calf chores. It is honestly one of their greatest joys. The bedding down with straw:
The umbilical cord in Kris' hand:
The iodine he uses to clean the belly button area:
The boys marking the calves after they're fed colostrum:
And feeding! Three methods here. The standing up when you're bigger than the calf, the helping when you're smaller, and the trying-to-coax-to-drink when the calf is very young.
My son asked if they could come every night to help with calf chores, and we assured them we'd come as often as we could and someday they can do them ALL BY THEMSELVES.
Maybe they'll even get good at pulling calves. They'll have to ... with the sheer volume of our group, we're never going to be able to sneak up on them.
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