This time of the year, it’s all about the babies: bovine, equine and sometimes porcine (but the sow will be considerably later this year for a variety of reasons). We have two cows obviously bred, and one about which we’re still a little unsure. It’s her first calf, and she’s a tubby cow, anyway. We don’t usually preg test our beef cows, but let nature take its course. If they don’t catch quickly when exposed to the bull and produce a calf each year with minimal effort, they either go in the freezer or down the road. Strawberry, the red Angus cow, took first place in the maternity sweepstakes today with a heifer calf. When we went down to feed this morning, she was obviously in labor, with bloody show from the vulva and visible contractions. Hubby had an appointment in town, so he left and I stayed to watch. Strawberry followed her usual pattern — walking around, snatching an occasional mouthful of grass, and periodically stopping to hunch over with a contraction. After about forty-five minutes, she began to turn a tight circle, which meant she was getting ready to lie down. Five minutes and a couple of good strong pushes later, she delivered a pretty red Angus heifer. The baby was up and nursing within 20 minutes — a sign of a strong, healthy calf — and by the time I went back for a recheck, she was already trying to buck and run.
Auntie Maybelle and Auntie Hershey gave her a couple of sniffs and licks of approval and went back to the serious business of grazing. Mama Strawberry was still in the process of cleaning (passing the placenta) so we’ll keep an eye on them for the rest of the day.
Today is also the oldest granddaughter’s 16th birthday, and although I didn’t have a watch with me, this heifer was born about the same time of day; definitely within 15 minutes of the same time the granddaughter was born. So, even though the cow is claimed by her younger sister, I suspect the baby will be named by the birthday girl.
As the Jews say, “L’Chaim” — here’s to life!