Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The birth of Minnie

Last Saturday (May 30), our heifer Rosy gave birth.

Right now Rosy is our bull Samson's pen-mate. Bulls are quite good with calves so we had no compunctions leaving Rosy with him, even though she was so close to her due date.

I watched her closely for several days as her due date ticked closer, and when her udder started bagging up, I knew her time was near. This is Rosy's first calf, so I wanted to be vigilant.

Mid-afternoon on Saturday I heard a yell from the feed lot and knew Rosy was in labor. I closed the bull into the bull pen (to his annoyance) -- not because I feared he would hurt the baby, but because I didn't want to worry about watching my back if I had to help Rosy. Samson is very good-tempered for a bull, but we can never forget he's a bull.

By the time I got there, Rosy already had two little front hooves out. Unlike poor Amy's breach birth of her calf Hector, front hooves coming out first is a good sign.

The contractions came and went. Sometimes Rosy heaved to her feet, sometimes she laid down. But it took her a long time to get past those little hooves.

Cows get a very preoccupied look on their face when birthing. It's like they're seeing inward, not outward.

Here's a strong contraction.

Still no progress.



When a strong contraction hit, Rosy would groan and yell in pain...

...and this could cause all the other animals to mill around the pasture gate, bellowing in sympathy. It got pretty noisy for awhile.

At long last I could see the tip of the calf's nose. Progress at last.

The head is out. Once this happens, the rest is quick.

Hang in there, Rosy, the worst is almost over.


Then she got the most comical expression on her face. You could almost hear her say, "Hey, what just happened?"

Then instinct kicked in. She got to her feet and began cleaning the baby.

Soon the baby raised her head and looked around.

It's a little heifer and, as I explained before, she looks so much like her mom that I named her Minnie, as in Mini-Me.

The baby began the struggle of getting to her feet.

Takes a few minutes to get the hang of things.

Crash and burn.

Minnie wobbled to her feet again and stood there, swaying.

And, because Rosy was vigorously licking, little Minnie's feet got wider and wider and wider apart. "Um, I'm up...what do I do now?"

But soon she learned that back legs have to follow after front legs, and all was right once more.

Little Minnie is strong. In no time at all, she found the faucet.

All that good rich colostrum, going just where it's supposed to go.

Within an hour or so, Rosy delivered the placenta.

Then she lay down for a much-deserved rest

See? Mini-Me.

I'm always happy when first births go so well.


  1. I remember a time when I did not cry tears of joy. Now I cry them while reading a post about a heifer calving her first calf.
    Thank you.
    I guess Rosy is not a heifer any longer. Congratulations, mama.
    sidetracksusie - who looks forward to perhaps seeing this happen on her own little place one day.

  2. I hope this is not the third time I post this; think my computer needs a cup of coffee.
    I remember a time in my life when I did not cry tears of joy (just felt happy minus tears). Now I cry them when I read about a heifer calving.
    I guess Rosy is no longer a heifer; congratulations to Rosy. Minnie is beautiful.

  3. Please forgive me if this is a multiple posting of the same item. My computer has not had enough coffee this morning.
    I remember being the person that did not cry tears of joy, just felt happy minus the tears. Now, I cry them when reading about and seeing pictures of a heifer calving.
    Thank you. Minnie is beautiful. I guess Rosy is no longer a heifer.
    Blessings to you all (y'all truly, as I grew up in Missouri, oh, wait, it's all y'all).

  4. Congratulations. I enjoyed seeing the process via your photos. Minnie is a cutie pie!

  5. We had our first calf born here last month and are waiting 3 more, all to heifers. congratulations on a beautiful calf. I love the coloring on both of them. I am still hoping to get to see a live birth. Our first one was born in the afternoon about 2 hours after the last time I had checked on her. She was very quick. I am hoping all of our births are as uneventful.

  6. Mazel tov!!! What lovely ladies.

    God Bless,
    Janet in MA

  7. I noticed that her teats are pretty long! Is this normal for this breed? When I had a Jersey, her teats were soooo short that it was hard for me to hand milk her. Thinking about getting a different breed.
    Congratulations on the heifer!