Self-Sufficiency Series

Showing posts with label Lily. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lily. Show all posts

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day calf

We've been keeping two critters in our corral for the last week or so because they're close to calving. Lily is half-Jersey, half-Dexter; and Sparky is full Dexter. This will be a second baby for Lily but a first baby for Sparky.

It's always convenient if calves are born in the corral for two reasons; one, the animals have the shelter of the barn if they need it; and two, we can dehorn or castrate the calves without having to embark on a wild goose (calf?) chase across the pasture to capture them.

Anyway, we came home from our neighborhood potluck last night -- and saw that Lily had had her calf! She had just dropped it, and I mean just. The calf was still wet and hadn't gotten to its feet yet.

Altogether now: "Awwww...."

My parents flew in to visit last week and are staying in Coeur d'Alene. My Dad came in for last night's potluck, though my Mom wasn't feeling quite up to it. So Dad -- a city boy from birth -- got to see a newborn calf and he watched enraptured as the baby struggled to its feet and took its first nourishing meal of colostrum. He'd never seen a newborn calf before.

Lily spent a good deal of time licking her baby. This accomplishes three things: (1) it cleans the newborn; (2) it stimulates the baby's circulation; and (3) it familiarizes the cow with her baby's unique scent.

The rest of the herd was eager to catch a glimpse of the newcomer.

While we're not positive of the gender, the elegant long head makes me think it's a girl. Boys usually have shorter heads. Younger Daughter tentatively has named her Leto, after the Greek goddess of motherhood (since she was born on Mother's Day).

As a new mama, of course, Lily is fiercely protective of her baby. We kept our distance.

First attempt to struggle to her feet.

Careful now.... steady....

Not bad for a first try!

"Let's see... I know there's an udder around here somewhere..."

Getting wobbly...

Crash and burn.

Sparky, wildly curious about the baby, got too close...

...and was chased off.

"MY baby!"

Still wobbly but getting stronger.

Aha -- jackpot! All that good colostrum is getting inside.

What a nice Mother's Day gift for Lily.

I checked the calf this morning, and Leto looked strong and chipper and was nursing well.

Here's the dropped placenta, a good sign. (We'll dispose of this.)

An ever-watchful Lily.

First time in the barn.

Sparky still wanted to meet the baby...

...but Lily wouldn't have it.

Last night I noticed Victoria is bagging up too, so we pulled her into the corral (she's the red heifer). This will be Victoria's first calf as well.

See how bagged up she is?

Victoria has two supernumerary teats. These are harmless.

Looks like we'll have calves coming out our ears in the next couple of weeks!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bringing home Atlas

Our neighbors were still holding the cow/calf pair we had purchased, in part because we still needed to pull together a place to put them. The section of barn with the best stall space had been falling apart, largely due to our bull Gimli's rampage a few years ago. The original construction of this outbuilding wasn't the best to begin with, so we've had to do a number of patch jobs over the years.

So, time for another quick repair job. Don dug a hole...

...and put in a stout pressure-treated upright.

This allowed us to push the wall back in and screw it to the upright.

It was a muddy job for both of us.

A sturdy latch on the door...

...and we were ready for business.

Lily, the cow, walked okay on the lead rope, but of course Atlas wanted nothing to do with it. The idea was I pulled, and someone else pushed from behind. Here a neighbor boy, Ethan, gives Atlas a little shove.

"No! No! Don't wanna!" It's amazing how strong those four little legs can be.

But with mama walking ahead, he followed.

Mostly. He still needed a little convincing.

While Atlas might disagree, it was actually a fairly painless move from the neighbor's barn to ours. Here they're settling in.

Lily is still in the overprotective and suspicious stage, and it won't be made any better when we dehorn Atlas in the next few days. But I still intend to see if I can train her to milk. We'll see.