After getting moved into the nursery field a week ago, Pressure finally delivered a healthy bull calf.
It was a cold snowy morning and the ground had been stomped clear of snow. The baby wanted to lay down but the spot was wet and muddy. Pressure had her baby all licked off but with the biting wind we decided to move the pair into the barn for a day. The respite from the elements give time for the baby to get dried off with a relatively warm, clean pen and treat Pressure to a couple of hearty meals without having to worry if the other calves are going to bother her baby. Continue reading
I could have titled this post; saggy and baggy, sloppy and droopy, knock-kneed and swayback. They may not sound pretty but these are all the telltale signs of impending labor and birth.
Pressure is showing all the signs. She lost her mucus plug. Her udder is filling up with rich colostrum, and she is having trouble walking because her back has bowed toward the earth while her tail-head rises. And she is hungry ALL the time.
We had to move her out to the nursery field because not only is she close to calving, she got into the habit of pulling bales off the back of the Gator and into the mud before we could drive up to put the bale into the outside feeder. Continue reading
Topanga was acting very restless Sunday evening. She was not actually showing signs of labor, but she was in a foul mood. She had stepped over an electric fence that morning to be back in with the main herd, she had decided that being alone in a big field was not where she wanted to be.
We got her separated once again from the herd during the evening meal. Topanga is one big cow and when she doesn’t want to move, she doesn’t. It took Mike and I both hollering and waving our arms and a little tail twisting to convince her that she needed to be in the secure barnyard to finish out her pregnancy. She still tried to push through the heavy wooden gate at the end of the enclosure.
It was sometime after midnight when she finally did go into labor and delivered a very lively heifer calf.
Zion was born early morning November 27, 2017 and weighs 80 lbs. Topanga had her all cleaned up and nursing by daybreak. Zion looks like she is 90 lbs. or more, but we realized that she has her full winter coat already and that is a lot of fluff extending across her body and down her legs.
And Topanga is back to her old self, no longer restless and doting on her little one with every step.
We have been watching #64, SAF Gauge for a month. She was showing all the signs of impending birth, but she was not ready.
Each day we would check her and each day would have the same conclusion of ‘any time now’.
Finally 4/19/17 SAF Dial was born, the heifer weighed in at 61 lbs. This baby was definitely not overdue, or she would have weighed 80 lbs. Gauge had fooled us the whole time.
Dial was born in the middle of the main herd. I was halfway across the field when I heard Gauge let out one loud bellow, the calf was expelled and plopped into the pasture grass. The rest of the herd danced around with snorting and bellowing of their own. Some of the other calves were running circles around the herd. Everyone was very excited.
Dial was standing up and eating within 15 minutes of birth. The excitement around her her had quieted down as I coaxed the rest of the herd to eat their hay on the other side of the river.
No one was able to sleep when all the bulls in the bull pen started bellowing. It was 5:30 in the morning and still very dark with no moon or stars showing. Mike knew exactly and stated that there must be a cow calving to upset the bulls from a peaceful night.
Sure enough, when I went out to the show barn, Quiet had a brand new baby boy on 3/25/2017, and weighed 80 lbs. At daybreak, I was able to get a few pictures.
Respect was born with his front legs weak from being curled up before delivery. He had a hard time standing at first because he would tremble and shake on the weak legs and slip down onto his knuckles. His face would drop down into the mud when this happened. We moved the pair into the barn where they could both get dry and warm.
After a couple of hours, Respect had figured out how to stand correctly and was scooting around his mother inside the barn, while nursing anytime he felt like it.
Heavy rains have required us to keep the mother and baby inside the barn for a couple of days to give Respect the time to strengthen before tackling the mud again.
The newest member of the herd arrived on Monday 3/18/17, he was delivered to #89 Marlo and weighed in at 75 lbs.
We knew Marlo was about due, when we fed the rest of the main herd she was missing from the count. We found her safe and sound up along the old railroad grade. with her calf by her side. The underbrush was a little hard to walk around for the newborn, but the tall timbers kept most of the rain off while the tall banks of the grade made a nice windbreak.
We fed Marlo some hay and left the pair to bond while we fed the main herd further out in the field so they could have quality mommy/baby time.
Snowcap was born on the wrong side of the river. After a little debate, it was concluded that the easiest way to move the pair to the other side would be to haul the calf in the John Deere Gator and the cow would swim across to join him on the other side.
Plum was a show animal so she is used to having us close by and did not get upset when Mike drove the Gator right up close to her and dropped the tailgate. It was another matter to get the stout bull into the back, he was heavy and pretty wiggly. Continue reading
The last calf of the season was born 5/26/2016. We were in the process of moving the herd of cows across the river and over to the area along the hillside and back along the barns when we heard a bellow. Mike was able to tell from the sounds that it was labor pains.
We continued to get the rest of the herd rounded up and moved across. We had them all counted except for #99 the last animal that was still pregnant. After getting the rest of the herd moved through gates into the correct area, we drove up the road and around the 16 acre field. There was #99, Softly, under the big maple trees. She had just delivered a 75 lb. heifer, and she was in the process of cleaning her baby up.
We decided to let mother and baby bond together for the day before moving them through the river to be with the rest of the herd.
We named the baby, B. Felden, after the actress that played Agent 99 on Get Smart, oh so many years ago.
Early morning labor pains brought Zippy into the world about daybreak. Roz, one of our more mature cows, had Zippy easily and she had him cleaned off and ready to join the herd for breakfast.
The bull calf, Zippy, was born 4/19/16 and weighed a moderate 75bs.
Mike noticed it first when we were getting ready to do the morning chores, Sapphire was acting unusual. She was hanging away from the main herd, had her tail raised a bit, and kept sniffing the ground. All tell-tail signs that she was in labor.
The day had turned blustery during feeding so we moved Sapphire away from the main group and put her into the barnyard. She acted ravenous, and could not stop eating grass even though it was obvious that she was in the first stages of labor. (It was breakfast time, and she was hungry).
We opened up the barn for her to go inside out of the rain if she wanted and fluffed up several armloads of hay into the manger inside. About an hour later she moved under cover and ate her fill of the sweet hay while continuing with contractions.
By mid-day she had delivered Violet, a 78 lb. heifer.
Violet has long legs and it took several attempts before she could figure out how to get those appendages under her in order to be able to stand up.
Once she figured out the legs, she stood up and started walking until she was steady enough to nurse.
Mother and baby are doing well and we moved them out of the barn into the nursery field with the rest of the mothers and babies.