February 9, 2010

red bull!

The maternity ward is getting full and there are babies running around everywhere. I'm starting to lose track of who belongs to who. It's hilarious to watch them running and jumping around as they get used to their legs. I hope to get some video to post soon.

Yesterday morning there was a new face when we showed up to do chores. A black bull calf. We dried off his ears so they wouldn't freeze. He was shivering since he hadn't nursed yet. Once that mama's milk is in their belly, they're warm and ready to tackle the world. Farmer R said that you'd be shivering too if you came out of a 100 degree womb right into a 0 degree world.

Nate and Farmer R headed off to a meeting that a seed company was holding. Nate tagged along in hopes of learning more about the different forages for cattle while I stayed back to hold down the farm.

An hour or so later, I went to collect eggs and had a strange feeling that I should go check the cattle. I unlatched the gate and right away noticed a cow cleaning off a new baby...and I mean new. A red bull calf was born just moments before I walked in.

Now, this was the first time this has happened a) when I was alone and b) when Farmer R was away from the farm. So, knowing that they were in a meeting, I texted Nate and said "We just got a new calf! What should I do?" He texted back "Dry ears".

Okay, I can handle that.

Luckily I had a towel in the car and I grabbed the hair dryer from the barn. I was a little hesitant as I approached them since some mamas can be pretty protective of their new babies. This one seemed to trust me. Somehow she knew that I was trying to help. I grabbed the slimy little guy and started rubbing him down with the towel and drying his head and ears. Mom was overseeing the process and checking my work. If we weren't around, mom would lick the baby to clean him off anyway but we're trying to get those ears dried off as soon as possible because if they freeze, the capillaries will die and that calf will have shortened ears.

So I got the little guy as dry as I could and quickly left to give them time to nurse. The little guy was shivering and I knew that's what he needed. When I came back later, all was well in his world. His belly was full and he was snoozing away.

The calves are often skittish around people since the world is still so new to them. This morning when we went in to check on everyone, I walked over to see mom and calf and that little guy came right up to me and gave me a nuzzle.

I think he was thanking me for saving his ears.

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