Country Living Series

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Polly's a mama!

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.


PUUUSHHHH!!!





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.


Whoops!


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.


Kinda scary!


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!

34 comments:

  1. Thank you Patrice. That was beautiful.

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  2. Thank you Patrice. That was wonderful! Hope your cold gets better soon.

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  3. Oops .... I think I just commented two times. I am just getting the hang of leaving comments. Sorry.

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  4. Congrats on another beautiful addition to your herd. Alice is a name of honor with us. Started with a cross breed rabbit, one of our first, who could be counted on to produce nice litters and we could foster anything to her. I even pulled her new born litter off her, and gave her a litter of 3 week olds to raise instead because their mother had suddenly dies. Alice just took a look in the nest box, jumped in and fed those hungry babies. Our first hen that sat a clutch successfully was given the name also. So may your Alice carry the name well, and be blessed with the great mothering skills that have accompanied it for many years.
    Judy in Idaho

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  5. With all those cuties in the barn I'll bet you don't lack entertainment. Four heifers is great! Future milk cows in progress.

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  6. Congratulations! How soon will you start milking? We look forward to seeing the things you make from your milk.

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    1. I'll start milking about four days from now. By then the calf will have gotten all the colostrum and Polly will start producing "regular" milk.

      - Patrice

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  7. Super cool!Congratulations to all.

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  8. Glad everything went well for mama and baby. Alice is a cutie.

    TinaH

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  9. I don't comment much but your blog is on my google reader and I read it every day. Just love the pictorial essays and all the ideas and all the news about your life and family. Today's pictures were "especially special" as I've been a labor & delivery nurse for years and the first birth I ever saw was a breech calf at the farm at the University of Maine in Orono Maine where my Dad attended college (I was 8 years old - 53 years ago!!)

    Thanks Patrice.

    Kind Regards - Nancy

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    1. LOL -- that's cool. I read your comment out lout to the family. One of my best friends in Oregon is also a labor and delivery nurse, and in fact helped deliver our older daughter (that's how we met).

      - Patrice

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    2. I live in Oregon now - near where you used to live (you mentioned it a while ago in response to a previous post) - I worked in Medford for a few months - now in Grants Pass - maybe I know your friend!! Anyway, what I didn't mention about that breech calf was that a guy had to jump in and pull that calf out by it's hind legs and then he jumped away in a hurry. I've delivered a few babies in my years when docs didn't make it but never a breech....nowadays breech babies are c/sectioned - it's a miracle if they come fast enough to avoid a trip to the OR - well I guess that's a whole 'nother' discussion........

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  10. I read this post with veracious curiosity. I've never seen a calf born. This is the closest I've ever come.

    Petunia is adorable! I just wanna hug her! And all your new babies!

    Just Me

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  11. Ah, babies! Doesn't matter which kind. All is right with the world!
    Thanks for the great pics!

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  12. What a beauty, congratulations!

    sidetracksusie

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  13. Those were really good pictures from the beginning to end and beyond the birth. Thanks for the explanations, too.

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  14. Patrice,
    Congrats on the new little one. Do you have more Cows expecting?

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    1. Four. Three within the next month or so, and Matilda is due some time in September.

      - Patrice

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  15. Congratulations!

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  16. This is awesome...We are taking our last steer to the butcher and then have to figure out how to buy some more...you just have them dropping into your barn everyday! (ok, maybe there's more to it).

    Your portfolio is outpacing inflation nicely, I'm jealous :)

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  17. Thank you for sharing! What a wondrous event. Congratulations! You are growing your own dairy herd. I am jealous....but in a good way.
    Cheers!

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  18. That is great!!!! There is something about "catching" your animals in labor. Magical!

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  19. Nice. Just wondering why you have a halter on a cow? Halters left on animals with babies especially is really dangerous. Have seen babies get their feet in the halter and die. Or animals with halters scratching and get their halter caught on a T post and die. Just trying to save you from an expensive accident! Halters are a tool not everyday wear.

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  20. Go Polly!!! Yippy for baby girls. I just love all your pictures.

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  21. All your babies have been gorgeous.

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  22. Well, if I am doing my math correctly, this little girl is 3/4 jersey 1/4 dexter, right? If so, I bet she will be worth some $ as a milk cow. Moderate size jersey cows seem to be in high demand.

    Nice way to get a quick payback on the purchase price for Polly.

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  23. Cuteness overload! That's great, Patrice! Thanks for all the great pics and captions.

    Anonymous, if you had read an earlier post, you would know that Patrice is working on getting Polly used to the halter and being handled so she can be milked without trouble after being a carefree heifer.

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  24. Was going to say that sometimes I really wonder if some people just go trolling about looking for pics of animals and blog subjects that they can drop a "superior" comment about. Why comment on a blog if you are not familiar with the person writing and the content of the blog?

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    1. Not trying to be "superior" but animals with halters on are just waiting for an accident. She has already lost 1 calf! You can train animals that when the halter is on they are now on your time. Halters off there time. In this economy the loss of an animal is costly. I guess Lisa you have never witnessed a baby dead hanging from a halter! Or a horse with a braided tail caught on a T post, got scared and pulled their guts out!. Animals get in enough trouble without the added preventable measures.

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  25. Loved this post. I miss living on a farm and seeing the beautiful moments like these. Granted I don't miss the hard ones, but none the less, it is great to see such a wonderful birth of a beautiful baby!

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  26. thank you for taking all those pictures and posting them for us suburbanites to see! I'm jealous.

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  27. Thanks for sharing the birth of Petunia.

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  28. Love your articles and view on life. keep it up.

    keith cossairt
    expat in mexico

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