Country Living Series

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Another tangible asset!

Don stayed home from church this morning to keep working on fences. I had barely arrived at the adult Sunday School class when he called on the church phone (I didn't have my cell phone on) and said -- we have a new calf!

We've been expecting Jet to have her calf any time, but to our shock and surprise, this was Ruby's calf. The reason this surprised us so much is we thought Ruby had miscarried over the winter. We've never had a cow miscarry before, but a few months ago I noticed Ruby had suddenly gone from fat (as in, pregnant) to skinny. We had just concluded in our minds she wouldn't be having a calf this year. So this one was totally unexpected!

Naturally she was born at the bottom of the woods, farthest from the barn. We can't keep a newborn calf out in the woods -- too much chance of predation -- plus we need to dehorn her in the next few days. Plus there's too much mud out there right now. Plus the weather has been cold and wet.

But first the barn needed a little fixing. As with everything else around here, the end of winter brings a total breakdown in infrastructure.

Don is clever at putting together stuff that falls apart, so within short order he had the door close-able again.

Next step... gotta get that calf in the barn. But how? Ruby has horns and new mamas can get testy. Our clever strategy: grab the calf and run. Well, walk. Damn, a newborn calf weighs a ton! At least it does when the mud is sucking at your boots and you have an angry horned cow somewhere behind you (Don was fending her off with a pole). Younger Daughter got these shots.

(Notice how the other animals are watching these proceedings with great interest. Nothing like a peanut gallery.)

Carrying the calf left me covered with meconium, the newborn poop. Guess I'll be washing my coat and gloves. But at least the calf was in the barn! Mama followed shortly thereafter, once she figured out where we'd taken her baby.

Here's the little girl (tentatively named Victoria). She's a dun like her older sister Smokey.

Ruby is an experienced mother and the little calf is nursing healthily.

Can you see why we're wary of those horns? That's why we dehorn all our heifers now.

So that's the latest tangible asset we've added to our farm -- another little heifer!


  1. Babies are popping up all over the place up there, LOL.....And yeah, those horns look serious, I don't blame you for avoiding them.....

    Congrats on all the new assets....they're so darned cute, too....

  2. What a great surprise! Love it! :)

  3. Wow, it really is spring on the farm, isn't it? Congrats on the new calf!

  4. Aww! And Double Awww on the new baby! Polly wasn't the new kid in the block for very long, was she?

    Just Me

  5. Murphy's Law: Calving occurs as far from the barn as possible. It would just be too easy on you if the calf were born right there near the house/barn, right? LOL.

  6. Congratulations!! Another heifer and more photographic evidence to support my suspicion that you're only in it for the glamor!!

    I can remember seeing little knobs of (I think brass) on the horns of some of my uncle's milk cows when I was little. It was explained to me they were there to blunt them and make them a little safer to be around if the cow got cranky.

    I don't know if Ruby would allow you to affix anything like that to her gorgeous horns, but maybe. And it would be some cool cow bling! lol

    Best wishes for a healthy calf and your ever-growing herd.

    A. McSp

  7. Way to go Patrice. I admire your ability to put your back into it. Some days are better than others for me. No matter how weak or strong you feel on a particular day the work has to be done. A bit slower sometimes but still done.