Cow Watch

February 7, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI got ‘the’ call at 10:02 am yesterday morning.  My Loving Spouse informed me that Our Friend the Farmer had ‘cows calving all over the place’ and as I was anxious to see Mother Nature up close, I needed to stop working on our taxes and high tail it over to the Farmer’s field, which of course I did!

I was a little disappointed upon my arrival, as all I could see where a pack (whoops, a herd) of cows (big fat pregnant cows) standing around breathing out steam.  I was sure I’d missed it again.  Luckily, Our Friend the Farmer came by and pointed out the cow that was mooing loudly, pawing the ground and shaking her head.  She was close to the fence, which was convenient for me as she was one of his more aggressive cows and I was instructed to ‘give her some space’.  Hmm, yes, no problem.  Trust me, the last thing I wanted to do was to tick off an aggressive 1000 lb. cow in labor, which as we know, labor sucks and if there was a simpler way to have kids, we mothers would have figured it out a very long time ago.  So, I watched her get up and down, walk around and moo.  The Farmer went to get hay.

I will refrain from being graphic, but let me just say, that ‘things progressed quickly with the cow’, as evidenced by the sack starting to come out her back-end.  Our Friend the Farmer came back in his truck with a load of hay for the cattle in the next field.  At this point I was elevated to ‘official calf birthing watcher’ and received my instructions.  “The feet/hoofs need to come out together and pointed down.  If they are any other way, the calf could be breech or twisted etc.  After it is born the cow needs to start licking it and especially the head, to clear the sack off the calf’s nose so it can breath.”  I was then given the Farmer’s cell number and told to call if any of those things happen.

Then I commenced pacing… but far enough away to not upset the cow who was still trying to keep an eye on me, and close enough to see all the things I was now in charge of.  Out came what looked like a foot… luckily on the next contraction, it was a bit clearer that there were two feet/hoofs.  Phew.

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And then plop…!!!  Out came this little sack of hot baby cow…calf.  Luckily, a warm day, no snow on the ground, but the ground still freezing at night, so not a lot of mud either.  Perfect calving conditions (see how much I am learning)!

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Okay, ‘we’re’ out…now start licking…. which the cow did, but… not the head.  She was licking the baby and the baby was trying to get up and it was still in the sack and I’m telling the cow (in my head) come on… lick the head, lick the nose, lick the face… but the cow did not.  Another cow came by to help lick, but still no one was getting the baby’s nose clean and I was getting anxious.  This calf was not going down on my watch, so I called in the expert, Our Friend the Farmer, “SHE’S NOT LICKING THE FACE”… “Okay, I will be right down.”  Big sigh of relief from me, as the head was still not getting licked and I knew I couldn’t help. The cow didn’t trust me and could have hurt the baby more, if I’d even thought about going into the field let alone going near her calf.  Just as the farmer stopped his truck the cow licked the face and nose and the baby tried to stand up.

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It was exactly 10:32 am when I called The Farmer…. every thing happened in 30 minutes, so fast!

I really like the cows… There is one cow that is just huge!  I am sure that she has twins….now that I’d really like to see!

 

  • Dawn

    What an experience. I found myself at my desk at work making noises (awwwww….look, how cute!….amazing, awwwwww). My co-workers must think I’m a nut. Anyway, what a wonderful thing to share. Thank you!!!

    • Ellen

      Dawn, Thank you so much. I love being able to share my adventure with you all! Ellen

  • Heather Flatley

    Wonderful!! The photos are great, what a great experience for you!

  • Miriam

    Great birthing story! And you got to help!

  • Carole K.

    Thank you for sharing the calf birth with the photos. Please keep the emails and many photos coming. I totally enjoy hearing about all of your experiences.

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