Twin calves a real surprise

Well, the calves are coming in nicely and I am approaching my halfway point.
The weather has been amazing and it sure seems to make for a less anxious walk to the barn hoping that you didn’t miss someone calving and find a very cold surprise.
I’ve had a couple of surprises, but neither are cold related! One being a heifer that popped her water bag out while I was doing my 4 a.m. check.
Like I’ve said before, normally with heifers you need to give them lots of time, so I decided to head back to my bed and watch via the camera. Much to my surprise, it was only about 45 minutes later that she had pushed out a calf.
I headed back to the barn to make sure all was fine. Things seemed fine, but the calf appeared pretty darn tiny and only a few minutes later she laid back down.
This is usually a sign of twins, but in a heifer?
Sure enough, 20 minutes later out came another little calf. She had two little bulls (one weighing 60 pounds and the other 55 pounds).
Twins are a lot of work for an old, well-milking cow, never mind a first-time mom. But they were both up and sucking, and the heifer was quite proud of her new family.
The heifer that lost her calf was outside, but I had seen a few calves sneaking a suck off of her. So I decided it would be worth a try to see if I could adopt out one of these twins.
We brought her back in the barn and put the new baby in with her. Luckily, he had a belly full from his mom, so he was content to just rest with his potentially new mom. She has been co-operating reasonably well, lifting her leg and the odd kick, but it seems that things likely will work out.
It will take a few days for her to come back into her milk, but I’m confident it will happen and we will have two happy heifers and two happy calves.
I think it’s the first time since my family had cattle that we ever had a heifer have twins!
• • •
My second surprise was some animal that I only could catch a quick glimpse of in the barn. I had noticed out of the corner of my eye a few times something scurrying away as I checked the pens.
I was starting to get a bit freaked out wondering what it could be (I knew it wasn’t a stray cat or a squirrel).
Finally I noticed that whatever it was had taken to swimming in my water pails that are in each stall. This wouldn’t be so bad, but it seemed to always leave some droppings in the water, as well, so of course the cattle were not impressed with this dirty water.
Then one morning after chores, I was sitting drinking my coffee and discovered my water-loving friend. Up my driveway heading quickly to the barn was a muskrat.
I’m assuming that his home is likely very low in water—or even could be frozen to the bottom due to the lack of water.
I’ve set a couple of live traps, mainly because my little “Roxee” likely would try to jump on him and I’m afraid he would be much harder on Roxee than the birds she is trying to attack daily.
• • •
The Rainy River District 4-H Awards Night is slated for Friday, March 2 at the Millennium Hall in Stratton.
Dinner is at 7 p.m., and everyone must call and confirm their attendance with Kim Desserre (483-5412).
• • •
The wild food workshop—set for Saturday, March 3 at the Devlin Hall—is filling up quickly.
If you’re interested in attending, be sure to get your tickets quickly, which are available at the Betty’s in Fort Frances, the La Vallee municipal office, Emo Feed, and Wood’s Quality Bakery, as well as from Rick Neilson or me.
The workshop will run from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and the agenda looks awesome!
• • •
A reminder the food security workshop—a gathering to increase access to safe, nutritious, and culturally-appropriate foods for all—will be held Thursday, March 8 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Emo Inn.
Register with Siobhan Booth at 482-2211 (lunch is included).
Food security: it’s everybody’s business!
• • •
Despite Boston losing 2-0 to the Minnesota Wild, Madison and Marlee enjoyed their first NHL game—proudly sporting their pink Tim Hortons jerseys!
We were hoping to get a glimpse of them on TV but not while I was watching did I spot them!

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