Cows can inspire many endearing words. Having to fix a fence before the sun comes up because one got it in her head the grass is greener on the other side does not invoke those words.
Sometime last night, and I can only assume early on based on the size of the hay pile left, dear Sugar Dot decided to push through a fence panel leaving behind Merdia. Needless to say neither Merida nor I were very pleased at this arrangement. Sugar was a little uncomfortable also, since she didn’t have her baby nursing on her for who knows how long.
And so after getting the fence put back together Merida joined me with the morning milking. I thought she was being a little more rough than usual on her mom…. I don’t blame her and chuckled (just a little).
3:45 (ish) this morning I heard the donkey’s braying out in the barn yard. I can recall thinking that was odd, just prior to the smallest baby wailing in her crib, realizing it had been a whole two hours since someone was there to fuss over her. After comforting the little one, I listened as I always do for any unusual activity in the barn yard. Everyone seemed to be quiet and I collapsed back into bed. 5:50(ish) A.M. Both little ones are awake and rearing to go. Why can’t they sleep-in on the weekends when I struggle with them to wake up during the week? Their big sister was less than pleased with the early morning squeals. 7:30 A.M. I made pancakes (which I have the recipe to share with you soon!). Soothed by pancakes and sausages the savage beasts retired to watch Disney movies. Meanwhile, since my husband goes to a men’s breakfast early Saturday mornings, I decided to go out and do the morning chores. 8:00 A.M. Made it outside to do chores after just one more snack and cup of juice and dirty diaper and….. The first stop is the steers and lambs, all was well with them. The turkeys and geese were all fluffed up from the rain, but nothing to report. 8:15 A.M. As I walk past the pond to the big barn I notice Sugar Dot (the dairy cow in question) was not outside in her pasture. Grey and misting outside and after all the rain yesterday I did not think much of it. Then, I walked into the barn and saw this tiny red spot of cuteness all curled up on a little bit of hay. I am pretty sure I squealed in adoration of this perfectly tiny little calf. Now this little bundle of joy, was about two weeks early from the count I had. Which then prompts the apprehension that something might be wrong, so I walk over and check for warmth, nice and warm. Can it walk? Yes! Walking quite well! Sucking reflex? Yes! It has that too! All the basics for survival seem to be in place for this little one! Now at this point the donkeys, horse and Sugar Dot are irritated that breakfast has not been served, and are making quite the racket. I remedied this and went on to check the little one, who was now attempting to nurse (awesome) and it pooped, even better! Only after all this did I think to check, was it a boy or girl? As I went to check, she peed on me. We have a heifer! I hustled up to the house to tell the proud owner that her cow had given birth, and she immediately called Grandma to share the happy news. Just as I was getting ready to go back out and give some vitamins to the baby (Michigan is deficient in several nutrients that are important for muscle control in newborn animals, so giving a supplement is a highly advised treatment) my husband walked into the garage and I looked right at him and beamed “We have a girl!” 8:45 A.M. We go back out to check on and give the supplement to our new little addition. She is still doing great, but Sugar is not quite sure what to do with her and is pushing her all over the place. So to prevent the little one from getting crushed we tied the new mama up, with food and water easily reachable so she wouldn’t push the baby out into the cold. Noon: Back out to check on the baby…. We have decided she is going to be a permanent resident of the farm, but she needs a name! Still doing well, and Sugar Dot allowed us to milk her a little bit. We have some of the colostrum saved in the freezer just in case we need it in the next couple days if baby starts to fail at all. 7:00 P.M. Time for a big milking for Sugar Dot. It is certainly a learning experience for both of us. Any of you ladies out there that have lactated knows what its like when your milk comes in. For the rest of you that haven’t had the experience, the closest I can give you is imagine not being able to urinate for six hours after drinking a gallon of water and then someone wants to push on your bladder. It is pressure and it is painful. After being able to relieve some of her pressure through milking, she began to relax and so did I and we actually were able to accomplish getting her some comfort. About this time baby decided to wake up and see what I was doing and poked her nose into my bucket and even hopped around a little bit. The she decided it was her turn at the udder. I let her take my place and gave some fresh food to Sugar Dot, untied her and, turned out the light and let the rest for the night.
10/3/2016 Update *** We have given this girl a name! Her name is Merida! And she is healthy and spirited!***