On the third day of our rain drenched thaw, with the river still too high for the herd to cross, Paulette decided to have her calf.
The herd huddled by the river in the rain and we fed yet another breakfast in the too small pasture. At this point, the bulk of the snow was melted and had already flowed into the river. Feeling sure that the river would recede enough in the next 24 hours, we planned on moving the baby in the morning, across the river via the Gator and have the cows swim across to meet us. The herd had other plans.
When they heard the Gator start up signaling the evening feeding was close at hand, the 19 pregnant cows swam across. I stayed with Paulette and her baby to keep them from crossing fearing the water was much too high to take the little calf.
Mike went over the bridge to feed the herd and was going to come back with the Gator so we could transfer the baby from the wrong side to the right side. Paulette didn’t like being left behind, she out-maneuvered me with a sneaky end-around run. She had her calf right by her side as the pair plunged into the river.
Mike and I were up on the bridge when we saw Paulette make it across and the little calf, just a bobbing head on the turbulent surface, was being swept downstream in the current. I was afraid to even take a picture, because it did not look like it would be a good outcome.
Paulette was bellowing and the calf was frantically swimming but being pulled farther away with each moment. Miraculously, the calf was able to get out of the swift current near a bend in the river and got footing on the rocks where the water wasn’t as deep.
By the time we could get over to the other side, Paulette had her baby away from the river and was heading toward the outdoor feeders. We intercepted the pair and put them in the barn with Plum and her baby bull, Snowcap.
After a chance for Paulette to get some dinner and the baby to get dried off from the icy plunge. Both mother and baby are well and getting along well with their pen-mates in the nursery field.
As for the baby, we have named that tough girl after a very strong swimmer. Welcome to the farm, Nyad, weighing in at 65 lbs. on 1/20/2017.