As I was taking Jake to school yesterday morning, I caught sight of Bessie with her tail standing straight out. I slammed on the brakes and yelled, “What’s that cow doing???!?”
We watched a minute, and Jake said, “Awww, she’s just poopin’, Mom.” And she was…but as I stared intently at her rear end, I noticed she had her mucus plug hanging down from the back end. Now if you are a woman and have given birth, you know exactly what I’m talking about when I say mucus plug. It’s the same thing for a cow. The only difference is that it’s long and very silvery looking. I told Jake that I was pretty sure Bessie was getting ready to have her calf! I zipped him off to school and zipped right straight back to Gramma’s house so she could see it since that’s all she’s talked about for the past two days. We stared and stared out that sliding glass door (Bessie had set up shop just yards from Gramma’s back door, right in Gramma’s direct line of sight).
Pretty soon, we could see a bubble (the water membranes) bulging out with each little push! It was so exciting!!!
Annnnnnnd then Bessie realized she was being watched, and ……. nothing. I kept working, teaching classes, and I kept looking up there, and ……..nothing. I had to soon leave to do alternate assessment testing with a high school student so I told Dad and Gramma to keep an eye on her while I got my things ready to go.
LITERALLY fifteen minutes later, Dad called and told me the calf was out and on the ground! I swear that Bessie is like a watched pot and was just waiting until I looked the other way.
I took tons of videos and pictures of the new calf and the other cattle; their reactions to this new little baby were so extreme! Tilly immediately left Bessie and refused to go near her or the calf. The calf’s sisters (Bindi and Belle) were sniffing all around the little calf, and then Bindi decided to knock it around! That didn’t last more than a second because Bessie, Chip, and Belle whacked the stuffing out of Bindi and made her stand away from the newborn.
Bindi, Belle, Bessie, and the new baby (notice Belle has herself between the new calf and Bindi because Bindi had just been very aggressive toward the new little one)
Bessie (Mama), new calf, and Chip (Daddy)
Chip had the strangest reaction though. He kept putting his head down and holding onto the rear of the calf, providing support for the back end, while Bessie did her best to get the little calf to stand on her own. It took several tries over the course of an hour, but eventually, the little calf stood right up and started wobbling all around Bessie!
Ted got home from work, and we decided to set up a stall full of warm hay in the barn for Bessie and the calf. It was really cold, and the wind was really whipping by 6 p.m. We were afraid one of the other cattle might roll onto and squish the little calf in their shelterhouse during the night.
Ted approaching all the cattle to bring the little calf to the barn (we’re always very careful after a baby is born because hormones can sometimes make any of them do dangerous things they wouldn’t normally do if they think they need to protect the baby) – Bessie didn’t care at all that Ted picked up the baby!
Ted carried panel after panel into the barn, and then he hooked them together to create a nice freestanding stall in the barn. By this point, Bessie had led the little calf (who was very sturdy on its legs by this time) to the feeder, and Ted just walked out, picked it up, and headed back to the barn.
He checked to see if we had another girl or the first boy born on the farm and yelled, “IT’S A GIRL! WE’RE KEEPING HER!!!” LOL
Ted double checking – yep! Definitely a girl!!!
JUST LOOK AT THOSE EYELASHES!!!
That loud moo you hear on the video is that TINY CALF! Man, can she bellow!!!
It took some coaxing to get Bessie to step into the barn because by that point there was a shadow on the ground (and she won’t cross from light into shadows until she’s certain nothing there can hurt her).
Tilly and Belle were more than ready to barrel through the gate into the stall because there was grain in a trail and a pile on the floor to coax Bessie into the stall, but Ted wouldn’t let them, and Bessie took her time.
Eventually, she figured out that everything was fine and did cross into the barn stall with her little calf.
This calf is super curious (just like Mama Bessie!); she tried to eat my phone! LOL
We’ve decided that with this calf this time, we’re going to make sure that we handle her every single day for a few minutes (because Belle and Bindi don’t like being touched although they’ll tolerate it in exchange for some grain or a treat). We want this little calf to be as tame as Bessie because we like that we can work with Bessie and do basically anything we need and handle her, lead her, and milk her.
Isn’t this about the sweetest thing you ever did see??? She has no name yet – although a student today gave me her name suggestion, and we love it! We may go with it. 🙂
Gramma got her wish – she saw a calf get born again on the farm!!! She’s about to get to see it again three more times, too! We sat down with a calendar and figured everything up, and the other cattle should all drop their calves by the first weekend in May. THIS IS SO EXCITING!!!