Guess what I did this afternoon? I got a chance to witness the birth of the first of what we hope will be a long line of cows on Peter and John’s ranch.
First when Harvey (my brother and ranch manager) said that we had a heifer (first time mothers) that looked like her water broke. I thought I really didn’t want to watch. Curiosity got the better of me. I took my phone (camera) and walked down to the pen that all of the heifers were in. I saw a cow that was flagging (tail up and hair raised) she also had a discharge that appeared to be the “water” breaking. The guys went along their way to feed all the cows.
At first I tried to make it too close. I didn’t know that cows would do the same thing as other heard animals. They literally closed ranks around the soon to be mom. I backed off. I was trying to be stealthy – didn’t make it! They watched me watching them until I backed up almost to the house. The men came back from feeding and she was still in labor. I had seen one hoof but it went back in. The poor cow was standing, laying and even tried rolling. Anybody who has been through labor knows – NOT FUN!!! By the time it was decided that the cow might need some additional help they got out the new calf puller. It hadn’t been used yet, so the package had to be cut open and assembled. I was watching through the filthy window of the barn. I saw not just a hoof. Two hoofs and then the tip of the nose. I am screaming like a mad woman “She did it!! It is on it way!” I grabbed Harvey’s camera. Mine had died due to lack of power. I tried to get some pictures. By this time the Mom cow was beyond caring who was watching! The little guy (or gal) made it’s way onto the dirt in the pen.
There was a panic moment (on my part!) when I didn’t think she would actually take care of it. Gab – a guy who helped. Went to the pen and made sure it was breathing. He is a good source of knowledge, so I took his advise when he said “Back off!” I did. The food that had been delivered seemed to be the mom’s main focus. Gab went to the trough to shoo her back to the calf that was still wrapped in the umbilical sack. I didn’t want to scare her off so there are no pictures of her finally licking the calf. So it begins, cycle of life on the farm.
We have another heifer that looks to be ready later tonight. Her tail is up and she is looking rather uncomfortable – to me anyway. We hope to have all 6 deliver with out much fuss. The 5 heifers (first time moms) are all close to the barn and house to make sure if they need help they get it.
Springtime in Colorado. Ain’t life grand!