Monday, March 24, 2014

much ado about spring

So here we are in the north country and it feels like it's the middle of January, not the end of March. Bitter cold and snow storms and more coming this week. Yuck is all I'll complain about the weather. Just looking forward to the warmer weather.

The 20th of March came. It was a mild day. The first day of spring. It was snowing and over cast, but the temps were not that bad during the day. We had been keeping an eye on Dandie as you all know. They were in the barn because of the snow. I went and did afternoon chores and didn't notice anything exciting. My husband came home around 2 and went to check the cows. He came in the house and said Dandie was in labor. We decided to put her outside so she could walk around. More room and well sometimes walking helps keep and speed up the labor (well for a woman it can). So out she went. I had my camera ready and we were in and out of the barn.

Dandie decided to lay down for a spell. She had some contractions, but nothing major.
My anxious son watching his cow labor all afternoon. We left the other cows in the barn so Dandie could labor alone and do as she pleased.
It was about 5pm and we started our evening chores. Dandie was up and moving around. Having contractions. She even let my son pet her over the fence line while she was contacting. She would put her head down, round her back and almost dance her hind end back and forth.We didn't let him in the pasture because we didn't know how she would be. Labor does weird things to a female, even the most clam of them. Right ladies?
We were concerned about the time of day, the temperature falling and not knowing how long this was going to take. She was doing fine and not showing any signs of distress. Even though we were feeling some stress. First time heifer cow and all. It was my first time with a first time heifer cow, and labor is never fun to watch. As you can see we have snow...still. And ice.
We got chores done and went in to have some supper. I had been in the barn all afternoon so we had whatever we could find in the fridge and cupboards. I wasn't real hungry due to the nerves and excitement I was feeling. Dandie laid down. I kept a watch in the window. She had been down for about 1/2 hour. My husband went out to check on her. He had a spot light because it was getting dark. I threw my jacket on and hurried out. My new camera in hand.
Can you see the feet? You gotta look close. If your into that. I ran in the house and told my boy to get outside. Thinking it would be born by the time we got out there.
It was not. We waited another 20 or so minutes. She would push and push and that calf was not coming out any father. My husband slowly made his way to the barn to get some baling twine. Not really wanting to have to pull the calf out, but Dandie was getting tired, and we didn't want it to die or worse have her die.We didn't want her to stand up and have the calf go back in either. (It's happened) Thankfully she trusts us and she stayed down... carefully my husband tied the rope around the hooves, and as Dandie pushed he pulled. He knew the calf was still alive, because the tongue was out and moving.

Three push pulls and the calf was out!
It's out and breathing and he's taking the rope off! About 7:30 pm. I felt relief that Dandie was done and the calf was out. I knew she still needed to clean and we are still not out of the woods yet, (so to speak, any number of things can still go wrong). My heart was pounding. My boy was shaking as he held the spot light. We called over and asked what was it?
A bull calf. My heart sank. But then I was so thankful. After all the ups and downs and lessons we have learned in breeding cows. Dandie has finally proved herself able to get bred and stay settled and deliver a live calf.
Scooping up our new very wet bundle and heading to the barn. Dandie was getting up. And they went into the barn.

Mama and son bonding. She was licking him and so was his grammie. You can't see her, but Maggie was all about this little guy. She wanted him too. Was really sweet to watch this love between the cows. And all the mooing and licking they were doing to dry him off and stimulate his little body. Even his little moos back to them was wonderful to hear! Don't tell me animals don't have feelings. I'll never buy that lie. I've seen it first hand.
We left them awhile later. Everyone was ok.
We checked on them during the night. Dandie had cleaned, the calf was sleeping in front of his mama and all was well.
Our new adventure was going to start very soon. But I was so thankful that things went well. I can't really find the right words to describe how I felt as I tried to close my eyes and sleep. But mostly thankful and relieved come to mind.
Have a great day ya'll!


  1. It always makes me nervous when a first timer has a baby. It doesn't matter if it's a goat, cow, dog, or rabbit. You always wonder how it's gonna be. I'm glad yours went well.

  2. Congratulations! It is always such a relief when it's over - and everything goes well. You all sure did a great job for first timers (Dandie included)!

  3. Congratulations!!!!! Glad everything went well! How exciting and he's soo precious :)

  4. I'm glad everyone is happy and healthy!!! Good job, Dandie (make it a girl next time).