There is a saying, that if you want to make God laugh, make plans. Growing up, we had a dog and a cat, but even these must have been added to the household prior to any memory of mine. Newborn animals were only experienced on Wild Kingdom or National Geographic. There are no cows on Daleridge Road, La Canada, California and if you don’t believe me, you can Google Earth it. As a child, I did learn to milk a cow at My Uncle’s farm, which it turns out is a very good thing.
Agnes is an amazing cow. Cows are ‘wired’ to have ONE calf and this tends to pose a problem/situation/complication. Once the calves are born, it seems we are not able to just stand back in the field and watch everything work out just as it should. Fred was not nursing. Getting Fred to latch on was very important as he needed the colostrum only Agnes could provide. Agnes is a Black Angus beef cow, not a Jersey (I’ll stand quietly and be milked) cow. Agnes, Fred and George were not the only ones tired from the day and just to keep it real, let me tell you My Loving Spouse and I were not happy with each other and each other’s ideas in how to move the cattle, get a calf to latch on to Mama and give them their shots….and we were loosing daylight. We needed to get the herd into our coral, deciding to move the calves, believing that Agnes would follow. Getting two newborn calves where you want them to go, is not as easy as it sounds and yes, everyone went everywhere and both Agnes and My Loving Spouse were saying a Bad British Word, while I was muttering ‘stuff’ under my breath.
Agnes’ bag was too tight. Fred could not latch on. Men you are on your own here to figure this out. Any woman who has ever nursed a baby and that baby sleeps through the night for the first time, should have an idea what we are talking about. I needed to milk Agnes. I actually did get some milk into a bottle. Agnes was trying to kick me. My Loving Spouse was telling me that I was going to get kicked. I was being tenacious/stubborn, but did not get kicked as I knew I needed to get this calf to drink. I believe My Uncle would have been laughing, but proud. Our Friend the Farmer came to lend a hand and managed to relieve the pressure on Agnes’ bag, as well as fill a bucket of colostrum (which is like melted ice cream), which I bottle fed to Fred.
Day Two of the twins life, My Loving Spouse and I promised each other to not argue. I get up early and get Fred nursing from his Mama. I am a happy Cattle Woman or is that Cow Woman? My Loving Spouse then threw the calves, while I gave them all their shots. I then sat on them and put in their ear tag, which is sort of like piercing someone’s ear, except hairier.
The next few days, I keep a good eye on Fred. I get him up and push him toward his Mama. It takes a few days for him to realize he is part of this herd and Agnes a few days to remember that there are two of them. I think the twins are camera-shy, but they have commenced running around the field, which always makes us stop and watch! Nothing is more fun than calves romping.
In the mean time Arizona the chick has grown! At five weeks old, she is something of a teenager, but still usually found with her Mama Lucy.If it gets chilly out, she reverts to complete baby chick. “Mama, I am cold!”…and yes, I am blessed.