Sunday, May 27, 2012
I have been anxiously looking at the calender for the past 30 days, wondering when my gigantic, old faithful cow, Google,was going to have her twins.
I have turned down jobs, avoided family obligations and spent hours driving to the field to check on udders and vulvas. Those of you who have livestock know the worry associated with possible train wreck complications of the birthing process. I had estimated that the "twins" would arrive at the end of April. Wrong.
As my old, cranky cow got even bigger I actually had several nightmares that she had triplets instead.
Finally, I made another guesstimate that Memorial Day weekend would probably be the time of the big event, since I had planned to actually take a relaxing trip away to recover from bad news, stress and more bad news. I couldn't fathom being away from my cow if she was in trouble. So I did what every cow loving gal does: I requested a week of vacation. When asked "why" I needed a vacation, I wanted to say "maternity leave." Instead I said "Family."
On my way home from my last day of work , I slowly drove by the herd while counting heads in the tall grass on the hillside. I saw my old cow, from a distance, munching grass. She looked fine.
I went home, changed out of my clean work clothes and put my comfortable farm clothes on and headed out to my garden determined to get some more veggie plants into the ground before dark.
Just as I bent down to put the first pepper plant in, the neighbor drove in and said he had brought some folks down to look at the cows a few minutes ago, down by the stream, and it looked like there was a new calf.
I jumped in my truck and raced down to the herd.
As I leaped out of my truck with my bucket of ear tags, bands, assorted equipment and cow snacks I was met at the fence by Gracie the Guard Cow. That's when I knew that something was amiss.
Then I heard a cow bawling continually.
I hiked over to where I thought the new calf was, down in a valley near the stream.
I about had a mini stroke when I made it to the edge of the steep hill and saw TWO new calves.
There were THREE cows fighting amongst themselves and a lot of bawling and spinning.
I lost my balance and fell down the hill, my bucket of stuff spilling all over the hillside and beyond.
Stinging Nettles scratched my legs as I swore and cursed why I always seem to have shorts on when I fall, instead of pants.
Two of the cows were head butting and one first calf heifer and 2 calves were yelling. It took about 5 minutes to sort out the situation and the conclusion I came to was not the same one I initially thought.
With a sigh of relief I determined that there were 2 calves and TWO Moms, not one mom like I had initially thought. The third cow was a milk sucking thief who was working hard to steal some colostrum and doing some head butting.
My old cow was pushing the 2nd calf away and the first calf heifer was bawling constantly because she was confused and trying to get to the old cow's new calf. The old cows calf was following the first calf heifer as the old cow was trying to catch up with her. It was chaotic, to say the least.
I got a little distance between them, put the correct calves with the correct cow and went back up the hill to collect my supplies.
Luckily I didn't have to wrestle either one of the calves to band them and make them steers.
Both were heifers.
Google's calf was an hour or so old. She was learning to walk and listen to her mom.
I weighed her at 84 lbs.
Google still looked huge and I thought the "twin" might be on its way in a few hours.
The hill was steep and the calf wasn't walking well enough to make the trip up to the safety of the herd yet, so she laid down for a nap.
I wasn't going to leave until both cows and calves were back in the safety of the rest of the herd.
We have a large family of coyotes that would have an easy time killing these calves in this steep valley with no where for them to escape.
While she was laying down I put her earrings on and looked her over really good.
She is a nice solid calf with a small teardrop of pigment on her right eye.
I just love eye pigment. You probably all know that already.
Eventually, both cows urged their calves to climb up the steep hill to return to the safety of the herd just before sundown.
The first calf heifers baby made it up the hill fast once she got going. That Instinct to get back to the herd is very strong. Her mom got with the program once the calf situation was sorted out and the milk sucker cow was removed from the situation. New moms need a little supervision sometimes.
The question I left the field with was: Will there be a twin here the next morning?
And then I thought how perfect my timing was to take a vacation. I had a feeling I was going to need it.
Oh, and I need some "G" names for this calf.