I've got a cold. It's been passing around our house (Older Daughter, then Don, now me) so it doesn't come as a surprise that I developed a headache, nasty sore throat, stuffy/runny nose, etc.
So this morning when I stumbled out of bed and stumbled into the kitchen to make tea, then stumbled outside to let the chickens loose... I wasn't really "there," if you know what I mean. Wasn't awake, wasn't really cognizant, just stumbling around in a fog.
I don't know what made me peek into the barn, but I did... and saw Polly laying down, with two little hooves sticking out her backside. Oh my, THAT woke me up!
Even though it's June 1, it was a decidedly brisk 38F this morning. I was glad to see Polly in the barn instead of outside to have her calf.
As she labored, some of the other cows peeked in to see what was happening. This is Sparky...
...and here's Lilly.
The proper presentation for a calf birth is the front two hooves first, followed by the nose. The hooves were still encased in the amniotic sac, and I could see the calf moving and pressing its nose underneath Polly's tail.
Poor Polly groaned with each contraction but for quite awhile didn't get past those little hooves.
Then she heaved herself to her feet, which broke the amniotic sac.
Although she was laboring hard, things were progressing normally so I didn't interfere.
I went into the house for a few minutes, and when I came back Polly had lain down and was making progress.
The nose was visible and the calf's head was almost out. At this point Polly only had about one more minute to go.
Hi! Are you a boy or a girl?
Polly immediately began licking her new baby.
Finally caught a glimpse of the genitals -- a little girl! The name "Alice" occurred to me for no particular reason, but Don favored the name "Petunia" and since he's never named a calf before, Petunia it is. I rather like it anyway -- it's so charmingly old-fashioned.
Polly still hadn't delivered the placenta yet, as all the bubbly sacs of fluid denote. Notice Sparky peeking in the barn.
In fact, Sparky just couldn't contain her curiosity any longer, and ambled in for a sniff.
Polly was too occupied to pay much attention. (Sorry for the weird eye colors, it was just a bit too dark in the barn not to use a flash.)
The calf tried to get on her feet almost right away, surprising me with her enthusiasm.
But she didn't quite make it.
Meanwhile the sun rose.
Petunia is a pretty little thing.
The baby managed to lurch her way into Matilda's stall, which is nice and protected but dark (so I still had to use a flash). Here she finally got on her feet.
Little Rosy got curious and came to visit.
Even a few chickens peered in to see what was up.
About an hour later, Polly had delivered the placenta and Petunia was dried off and on her feet. Now she could take her first peek at the big wide sunny world.
Especially with everyone staring!
But she was too curious to resist.
All together now: "Awwwww...."
The other calves clustered around, sniffing at Polly's still-messy backside...
...and wondering who their new playmate is.
But Petunia was shy and needed some persuasion.
But within a couple of hours, our pretty little newborn was outside, exploring.
Four heifers so far! My goodness!