I believe the mother cows are on the verge of mutiny.
There is sound reasoning behind this statement. A friend told me that she wanted to witness a birth. Since that time, the critters have refused to cooperate.
There seems to be a recurring theme with the births on the farm this year. Cow appears to be in the first stages of labor during a mealtime, gates are moved, pens re-configured, animals moved and mother-to-be settled in a comfortable spot where she promptly decides it is not birthing time after all. She decides that eating is more important and contractions stall.
Or, they sneak off to secluded corners and deliver the calf. We find out that we have a new baby when the mother calls out when she misses the next feeding time.
Since my friend lives an hour away and has a complicated schedule, I would feel bad if I called her to run out here and there is no birth for another 12 hours. Yet, with many of our older, well-established mothers, once they really decide to be in labor, they can plop out a calf with one strong push. There is a fine line between when to call and when not to call. It is a game that the mothers have refused to play.
In the meantime, our herd is growing. Fifteen calves now. Very healthy and happy.
Last year there were four calves that always hung out together in the big field. They played together, slept together, nibbled on hay together. We called them the ‘gang of 4’. This year, nine of the babies are in the group.
Antics have multiplied with this larger bunch. The mothers settle into eating the hay, when someone from the group gets a wild hair and takes off on a dead run across the field. Others from the group sense that something is up and they start a-scampering. The mothers desperately try to round up the unruly youth. There is a lot of running, bellering from the mothers, cries of glee from the youngsters, and lots of muddy hoof prints all through the field before they settle back down to their meal.