In the late afternoon on Christmas as we were doing the evening chores, we noticed #49, Nyad, straining. We had been watching her for the last couple of days since she was nearing the time when she could calve and was beginning to show signs. Her back end was getting swollen and her bag was starting to fill out.
With first time mothers, the signs could show up long before anything happens. But #49 decided she was ready and a Christmas baby would be born. (For those who are long time readers you may remember the story of Nyads name. Two years ago, Nyad was born on the wrong side of the river two years ago and her mother took her for her first swim within minutes of her birth so they could be on the correct side of the river for feeding time.)
We fed the rest of the herd in the outdoor feeders and attempted to move #49 into the locked area of the barnyard so she could have a little privacy. Two hooves were already sticking out at this point, and since they were aimed in the correct position, we let nature take its course. Nyad was not too enthused about the idea of being shooed away from the food and her buddies eating at the feeders but we finally convinced her to walk into the barnyard. We opened the barn, fluffed up fresh hay and filled a tub with fresh water. She moved into the barn to eat when a strong contraction hit. She stopped mid-bite to squeeze out a calf.
Welcome to the farm, Carol. Weighing in at 55 lbs., she is a nice size for a first time mother, making for an easy delivery. Carol was standing and eating her first meal in about 20 minutes, we could hear her smacking her lips from all the way across the barn. This is also the first calf for our newest herd sire, Night Stalker.
We left the two to bond and to enjoy the quiet of the barn for a couple of days before moving them out into the nursery field.