26 March 2021 – Cloudy with rain in the forecast, about 43 degrees
After surviving the beast of a blizzard, temperatures bounced right back up and the whole world immediately became a muddy, sloppy mess.
One of our cows decided that since she found one patch of dry land she would go ahead and have a baby right there.
This is Cherry Bomb’s 3rd calf. The baby, which we named Shadow, is about three weeks early considering the dates of exposure to the bull and the cow-gestation calendars. Shadow is also pretty small so we figured she must belong to the bull we leased and not the one that jumped in early in the season, otherwise she would have been bigger and possibly black? It’s impossible to tell, but Cherry Bomb is a great mom and she had Shadow up and nursing in a short time.
The next morning, we noticed Lucky (a heifer) was really acting uncomfortable and wandering off by herself. We followed her around from a distance and at one point she laid down and was obviously in hard labor. We never saw her water break, but clearly she was having her calf. In nine short minutes she had a beautiful little black heifer of her own.
This is Lucky’s first calf and she didn’t quite understand what it was. She got up after calving, turned around and started smelling it. When the baby moved, Lucky was visibly startled and jumped backward like she had been shocked! Dave went to check and make sure the baby was breathing; he stuck a finger in her nose and everything looked great so we just stood back and watched. Lucky seemed unsure of what to do, but then Cherry Bomb, who had calved her baby just the day before, came over to Lucky and started licking Lucky’s calf. Lucky caught on and began to mother her own baby while Cherry Bomb just laid down and hung out with her the rest of the day. Sometimes cows can be so smart, even kinder than people.
Lucky is #7, and her calf is #13 so we named her Jinx. Jinx was a lot faster than Shadow and up and nursing almost immediately. She is also pretty small and early.
Both girls seem to be doing pretty well. They sleep all day wherever their moms park them in the tall grass, and they are up running and bucking in the morning and before nightfall. They are super curious and squirt through the barbed wire a few times a day, but their moms call them and they come back through. Sometimes cows can be so dumb.
The early births of these calves has put Dave and I into night-watch mode. We take turns getting up several times a night to check if anyone is in labor or in trouble. This is probably overkill, but we had some bad luck with heifers two years ago so we want to be around to help if we are needed.
While getting up in the middle of the night sounds like it might be a total pain, it is strangely peaceful and relaxing. We are at a good phase of the moon so there has been a lot of light at the 1AM checks, and the moon sets by 4 or 5 and then the stars are so bright and beautiful. Most of the time the cows all bunch up together and sleep under a tree in the maternity ward, but sometimes they spread out and we have to hike around to put eyes on everyone. When they are all sleeping together it sounds like a bunch of snoring old drunk sailors, and they are so used to us checking on them they rarely get up or even look up. It’s really quite comforting knowing they are all together and no one is calving and we can usually sleep more soundly after these checks.
The remaining pregnant ladies are looking mighty large and uncomfortable, but they have been enjoying the warmer temperatures and since the snow is almost gone they have been finding some green sprouts to graze upon. I bet they are ready to have their babies and get on with the springtime, already!
That’s about it for calving so far, but I forgot to mention that this morning we had a small earthquake. I didn’t even feel it because I was outside playing with the Sheriff, but Dave said, “Did you feel the tremor?” He said the house began to shake a bit and he could hear rattling, but I didn’t feel a thing outside. Turns out we had a 3.4 earthquake centered not too far from here. I’ve said it before, there is never a dull moment on the Holler! If we get any more tremors we’ll have to call up Kevin Bacon and Reba McEntire.
We hope you all are doing well and keeping it free out there in the real world.