*** Warning: – Very graphic photos in this posting.
Yesterday was a day that went totally upside down from the moment of Crunch Time during a Full Moon.
We’ve been waiting since April 23rd for Patty to drop her calf.
But it was Cora – who was not due until around May 3rd – walking out of the barn around 7am with her tail extended without ever ceasing to fall back down. ( We’re thinking the previous owner’s Vet may have gotten the 2 cows mixed up?? )
Dwayne was at work. I had all the feeding chores to handle alone. No biggie these days. But we had a storm coming in a couple hours. So no time was wasted getting all the cattle, hens, dogs and chicks fed.
I kept an eye on Cora as I made my way around to each paddock. From the onset – Patty seemed to be keeping her trapped in the far corner of the paddock. Yet – Cora would pace – back and forth – turning around every once in a while – never staying in one place at a time for more than a minute or so. And not one time did either of the cows lay down – much unlike their behavior of lying around most of the previous day and past couple of weeks.
By the time I finished with the cattle and headed back to the house – it was obvious that Patty was taking on some type of Bullish disposition with Cora. I tried to con the girls into the barn with some Alfalfa. By the time I got I got them to the door of the barn – Patty jumped to stand across the door – deliberately blocking Cora from going inside. I gave up. Went back inside the house.
I set up the window in the spare bedroom for being able to watch things with Dwayne’s binoculars. Couldn’t even get them focused before catching Patty trying to mount Cora! And she continued trying to do so for a half-dozen times or more. Events began unfolding with nervous tension so much that I began hoping the storm would hurry up and hit here – furious enough to drive both cows into the barn.
Comments I had made back in March during our Vet’s annual visit were becoming a reality – at the most inopportune time. Dwayne was at work. We had a vicious storm coming. Both our neighbors that I could call for help had gone out of town that day. And just the thought of trying to get these girls back into the barn was downright unrealistic.
Eventually – activity had me so nervous that I began setting the kitchen stove timer on 15 minute increments. By then – the entire scenario had me livid. I called our Vet and left a voice mail.
Patty was not gonna back down from her stubborn retention. It really worried me. Artist and Bruce have the only paddock with trees. We leave the barn door open and the other stall available to provide shade for the paddock where we’ve kept the pregnant cows.
Sure enough. The 2nd increment of 15 minutes on the Timer went off. I looked out the back door. Cora was lying down. Patty was standing behind her.
I ran to the spare bedroom and grabbed the binoculars. “ Oh, my God. “ That white balloon was already there.
I grabbed my phone and headed out there – setting up the camera on my phone as I’m running. By the time I reached about 15 feet from Cora – I saw two hooves. By the time I was only about 4 feet from her – I saw the nose.
By the time I got my bearings together enough to shoot a photo – this happened!
The camera barely made it with resetting for me to take another shot when this happened!
All within less than 5 minutes!!
Cora wouldn’t move an inch to stand up. And the bag was completely covering the baby all the way to just the buttocks and tail. The head was swimming in amniotic fluid and I could hear the baby beginning to gurgle.
I slowly reached up to grab the edge of the bag and pulled it up and off of the calf. Fluid gushed everywhere. The calf’s head and body began to flop a little. Cora laid there. I began verbally prodding her to get up and help her baby. And she did!
And then it began to pour down buckets and buckets of rain. After going after our dumping cart and towels, the calf was just too slimy, heavy and jerky for me to pick up. I ran for our neighbor in front of us. When he answered the door, all I could say was, “ I have a baby on the ground! Baby on the ground. I gotta get it in the barn and I can’t pick it up! “
He came to help. Got the calf into the cart. I began wheeling it to the barn. Cora began to follow me. Patty interceded. The look on Cora’s face – wow. She was torn.
I scrambled to get the heating lamp set up – grab more towels and start drying off the calf while our neighbor began trying to get the cows inside the barn. We finally got them inside. He managed to separate Patty from Cora and I let her out the door. But when I went to secure the latch on the outside of the door, the latch holding the top and bottom sections of the door came loose and the bottom part of the door flung open. Cora bolted under the top portion of the door.
Dwayne finally made it home. But we just could not manage to get those girls inside. Pouring down rain. I was a drenched rat – and just didn’t even care. All I could think about was getting those girls into the barn – and getting Cora to her calf.
We gave up – hoping the girls would go ahead and make their way to the barn. I conceded to mixing a bottle of Colostrum for the calf.
Our daughter, Jennifer, had arrived to visit. And the three of us worked together to help get as much of the Colostrum down the calf as possible.
Shortly afterward – our Vet called. She had awakened with a migraine around 4am that morning. I’ve been put on meds for migraines. I know how they can knock your lights out. But she called back as soon as she woke up and got the voice mail.
I gave her the low-down on all the events. Told her all we were doing for the time being. She offered additional advice for handling any other possible scenarios. And I let her know that if she didn’t hear from me – it was good news!
Dwayne got hold of Rob, the same friend from work that rode with him last October to pick up the 2 Cow-Calf Pairs. The guys set up a couple cattle panels at the front door of the barn. Took a few attempts. But the panels did the trick! Both girls were in the barn. Rob got Patty to go into her stall. I opened the door to the stall where the calf was – and got Cora to walk inside!
Finally! We had a Mama and her Calf moved into their very own private apartment to spend the next few days bonding!
Miss Cora is now the proud Mama of Master “ PF Cora’s Storm “ – a beautiful black long-legged Bull Calf – born on April 27, 2013 and weighing 58 pounds. Storm’s Dam is “ PF Patriot’s Cora “ – Sire is “ PF Little Big Man. “
He is a BIG Boy for a Dexter Calf! He has the most beautiful thick – jet black – wavy and curly coat covering his entire body! And he is a spitting image of his Auntie – “ PF No Foolin’ April “ – whose Dam is “ PF Patriot “ (aka Patty) and also Sired by “ PF Little Big Man. “
We checked on them every couple of hours – until around 10pm – to see how things were going. We found a spunky little boy hopping around like a lamb and having a ball! He has managed to find his groceries! Seems absolutely happy and content around his Mama! And he’s already showing signs of being a pure ‘ Ham ’ in the world. He loves attention!
Cora feels great relief! She has no problem letting me go in to clean her stall or remove her food and water bowls for cleaning and filling. All in all – she’s behaving as if she is very pleased and content!
But she is still struggling with developing trust toward Dwayne for some reason. Hence those laid-back ears! I keep sweet-talking her along the process. And she keeps working really hard to trust him. She just needs more time!
I survived it! I was such a wreck! And then I became a soaked rat that forgot all about being nervous!
And now… we’re ALL just thrilled! I can hardly wait to get out there on a gorgeous day and burn up my camera on my phone!
Congratulations and felicitations to all. James Herriot would be proud of you.