Saturday, May 25, 2013

Another heifer

I got another middle-of-the-night wakeup call this morning when I heard our bull lowing around 3:40 am. He'll often bellow in sympathy when someone's in labor, and since we expected Sparky to have her calf any day, I guessed what was happening in the barn.

Sparky is small and this is her first calf, so I wanted her close at hand in case she had difficulties. We tucked her into the corral a couple of weeks ago, and she's been hanging around watching Lily and Victoria have their calves.

By the time I got to the barn at 4 am on the dot, she'd already dropped her calf. This seems to be my specialty lately: arrive just in time to see the wet calf on the ground -- before it's on its feet -- but missing the actual birth. Oh well, we still have five more calves due.

Anyway, the calf was right in the doorway of the barn, on a spot where the ground slopes down into mud from recent rains. Bad spot for a baby.

So I picked her up and scooted her further into the barn. (Sorry about the weird eyes, the flash makes everything look funny.)

Dawn eased into the sky as Sparky licked her baby. The full moon set behind some clouds... the newborn got shakily to her feet.

It took about twenty minutes for her (yes, it's a little girl) to make it on her feet, which had me a bit concerned (usually a calf is up in about ten minutes), but I shouldn't have worried. Within minutes of standing, she began nursing.

She's a vigorous, healthy nurser.

As the calf began to dry off, she emerged with an unusual dusky grey-brown fur. I think we'll name her Dusty.

Unlike Victoria, who took some time to "settle in" to being a mom, Sparky has been vary calm, very attentive from the start.

About 7:45 am, almost four hours after dropping her calf, Sparky delivered the placenta.

Dusty is an exceptionally pretty little calf.

And I'm relieved that Sparky's first birth went so well!


  1. Congratulations! Again!

    It looks like Dusty's got that gorgeous Dexter color and texture.

    You're building a beautiful herd!

    A. McSp

  2. Aww, I just have to leave a comment on how much I enjoy seeing all the photos of the birthing of calves. Although I did not grow up in a big city, I have no experience in calf birth and your photos almost let me be there, really quite a perk in my already nice days. Thanks for sharing, because to me, its amazing to follow along on your day to day journey. Sally in Seattle

  3. Congrats on another healthy addition to your farm!

  4. Thanks for sharing the photos and the event. God bless little Dusty and Sparky.

  5. Thanks for the baby cuteness fix of the day!

    Perhaps one day your herd will produce income for you. It's growing so fast.

    Just Me

  6. OH, seeing the pictures of one beautiful calf after another, makes me want to get one of my own and watch it grow. It's on my list of things to do...someday.

    Congratulations, Patrice. She's beautiful.