Cow ‘adopts’ calf

It is three weeks today (Monday) since my first calf arrived and I have 11 more to go.
When calving, you start out counting how many you have. But then you get to a certain point where it doesn’t matter how many you have, it’s all about how many you have left!
And when you get to the single digits remaining, it’s an amazing feeling. You can almost feel how good sleeping through the night will feel.
As well, when things are going rather smoothly, it is almost a “too good to be true feeling!”
Sure enough, on Friday at my 4:30 a.m. cow check, I was suspicious of “Grandpa’s cow” (as Marlee would call our only black cow). I felt like she was thinking of calving, so I brought her into the barn.
She did nothing all day but then at evening chores, she didn’t seem hungry so I was thinking we were going to see some action.
I had made supper (a rare occurrence) and decided to take it over to my mom and dad’s. We left here just after 5 p.m. and returned at 6:30. Alas, I went straight to the barn and there was “Grandpa’s cow” with a dead calf.
She was still lying down but it had come backwards and suffocated.
I was completely mad at myself. I shouldn’t have left! And the worst part was my dad wouldn’t even eat my supper cause he thought it looked gross.
I stomped around for the rest of the night.
I then decided it might be worth trying to get her a calf since a cow dry all summer is just a shame. My friends had a set of twins earlier and were bottle feeding one, so I talked to them early Saturday morning.
I likely would have driven right over to pick up the calf, but I had another cow calving so I felt I’d better stick around so I didn’t end up like last night.
Sure enough, it was another backwards calf—my third one this year after not having had a backwards one in quite some time.
I called my friend (the one who sells that good mineral) and he came and we got it—alive. Then off we went to pick up our twin.
My boyfriend/partner stayed home from the trapline this past weekend, so lucky him he got to do some farming. Getting a cow to take a strange calf can be quite tricky, but all reports have been quite good when you skin out the dead calf and tie the hide on the new one.
It just so happens that someone close to me is pretty good at skinning (at least he didn’t miss out on this task just by staying home for the weekend).
Fortunately, the transfer was very successful and with this calf being a bit older, it was even easier. The calf wanted a “momma” and the hide was removed in 24 hours.
In the meantime, I had three more calves, one of which was my last heifer.
She didn’t seem to be progressing too quickly, so my boyfriend/partner got to participate again by helping pull that calf.
Good thing he stayed home as he was busy.
• • •
I would just like to take the time to reiterate my column is primarily for entertainment, as well as an education tool for life on the farm.
Good and bad things happen just like in any other field, but please don’t lose sleep over any of it.
March is now upon us and many other farms will be beginning to have calves arrive. I wish them good luck and good weather.
I sure hope Mother Nature co-operates since many operations count on warming weather over the next few months.

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