Saturday, April 17, 2010

So... she was pregnant after all!

As you may have previously read, we had no idea if our cow was pregnant or not.  We'd had her 9 months and cows gestate nine and a half months.  She seemed fat, but that's a cow for you.  And then on Thursday... she started pacing around the field, not eating, mooing.  Coyote came home from Montessori around 3:45 which is the same time the bus drops Blue off.  And Huck, realizing he was going to have a late night at work, dropped by to get something to eat and see us all for a few minutes.  We were contemplating Hendrika's strange state when suddenly we see these hooves and head emerging from her dairy-air.  I'll spare you the photo!  And then she lays down and has this calf!  This adorable little red thing!  Within 15 minutes it was walking... and nursing within 30 minutes.  Sukey, the big sister, did a fancy little dance.  And that was that!  I ushered Coyote to T-ball and Huck went back to work.

I thought I saw little pink teets on it, called it a girl and Coyote christened her Ginger. And then Hendrika ate the after birth, which is apparently a normal thing to do.

In the evening, Huck called to ask if Hendrika had taken her calf in to the barn.  Nope.  And he suggested that needed to happen for safety and warmth.
"Oh but their cows.  They'll just do whatever it is they do in the wild." I breezed.
"um..."  Huckleberry paused to allow me the glory of recanting all on my own.

So, I pulled out my library of cow care books and discovered that baby calves can indeed get way too cold and can be devoured by neighborhood dogs.  But I also learned the very convenient fact and a cow, if she has her druthers, will stay in the spot she gave birth for two days.  And also, don't try to lead her away from it with the calf because she will kill you.  No.  Seriously.  She'll kill you.

Frightened, we slunk into the field and tried to coax her in, quietly, and without being killed.  And then, the coyotes came, close, loud, hungry.  And we got a little stressed out.  You know how couples under stress can sometimes be with each other.  Well, I started suggesting to Huck that he just scoop up that baby and run as fast as he could.  At that point... it made a lot of sense to me.

Finally, I shook some grain in the barn. Hendrika came running.  I slammed the corral shut.  And Huck tried to scoop up the baby.  But that thing was ninety pounds!  It was a floppy, fally, slippy transfer.  But we got them both in and shut the doors!

I was up at 5, worried.  And I found Hendrika, lethargic and cold in the barn.  Sure signs of a problem.  I was able to prod her up.  But all I have for reference are books and they don't tell you what's normal.  They just obsess about what's not normal.  I called over the local cattle guy and he said she looked ill but seemed okay. He said all his moms this year were lethargic after birth... some thing in the air, he guessed.  I didn't quite now how to take his assessment because, after all, he KILLS and EATS his pet cows.

Yoko brought her kids and husband out to see the baby yesterday.  And her husband noted a penis on our calf.  But I swear I saw her peeing out of her butt.  I thought that thing in the middle was some sort of umbilical something.  So... I guess we wait until the testicles fully descend, or not.  Ginger may become Joe.  I wanted a boy to be called Chew-Vaca.  But I got voted down. 

Alls well.  Bouncy calf.  Happy mom.  Jealous and confused sibling who's engaging in a lot of comfort grazing.  Ahhh the cycle of life.  And now we really need a new fence.

1 comment:

  1. what an exciting experience for your whole family!! That is soo cool. I am especially impressed after watching Food.inc. I want my own farm now too!!

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