Today is my birthday, and I had a wonderful birthday present–my cow calved this morning! She was nearly a week late, so we’ve been keeping a close eye on her. Last night she looked like she was very close, so we moved her into a paddock (we had her beside the road) so the calf wouldn’t end up on the road. When I went out at 6:30 this morning to check on her, it was apparent that she was in labor, but she also had milk fever and couldn’t get up. Of course, Gayle was at work, so I called our landlord, who knows a lot about cows, and asked him if he would be able to come over and give her some calcium. He very kindly came over soon, and instead of giving her the oral calcium that I had, he gave her two bags under her skin. He tried to hit a vein, but missed both times. It still works, just not quite as fast. We continued to watch her closely, and around 9:00 I felt inside to see if the calf was in the right position. It was, and half an hour later the feet started showing. Around 10:00 she finally stood up! The feet and nose disappeared back inside, and she took a break for awhile, eating some grass and hay. By 11:00, though, the calf was born–a healthy little bull. The children all got to watch. They had been hoping for that. They’ve had quite the education–they witnessed the breeding and now the birth.
And here’s a funny: This is Chestnut’s third calf, and all three have been born on a Thursday. We’ve had four different goats kid here, and three have kidded on a Thursday. What are the odds of that happening?
This afternoon, the two oldest boys went to help a local man “tail” lambs. Of course, lambs are born with long tails, but if you leave the tails on, poo builds up on them and then flies lay eggs…. I’ll spare you the details, but it’s kinder to cut off the tails. At the same time, they notch the ears for identification, and “ring” the males. This farm has around 2,000 ewes, so there are 3-4,000 lambs. The farm is in the hills directly east of Cheviot. We were able to drive the van to the back of the farm where they were working, since we have 4-wheel drive in it. We were going up and down some mighty steep hills! I have been looking at those particular hills, and the farm road we went up, since we moved here, wishing I could go up them! What a day for my wish to come true–my birthday! The views from the top were awesome. Snow-capped peaks in one direction; the sea in the other.