09 May 2014

And we have a baby bull calf!

The Reluctant Farmer told me this morning that Sasha seemed really uncomfortable, moving around a lot and she was bellowing a little. I thought perhaps she wanted her hay topped up, or let out to eat, but then I thought … no, that doesn’t sound like the “give me food” bellow. That sounds like the “I’m pissed off” bellow.

I was still in bed (I have to sleep extra these days) an hour or two later and realized that the sounds outside had changed. I got up and looked out the window and … yup! Baby calf! She had *just* delivered and was licking him dry.

It’s a boy – I had hoped for a girl, so we could have a second house cow, but this is a half mini-Hereford calf, and I think that we probably wouldn’t have gotten a lot of milk from a Hereford/Dexter cross – though I was willing to try it out. I have other options … and this baby (it’s a “J” year, should we call him Jerky? I think we’ll have to discuss this one a bit) will have two summers and a winter to enjoy life in our pastures.

For those looking for the “signs of calving” pictures – here is her udder this morning … super shiny and hugely full:

Photo 2014-05-09, 10 29 16 AM

I’ll need to help her get some of that milk out and massage her udder to help ease the edema … but that can wait until everyone has had some time to settle.

So yeah, yesterday’s images of a full udder and a slightly sloppy hind end – that’s what Sasha looks like the day before calving. Of course every cow is a bit different … I know dairy cows tend to bag up even more staggeringly (I’ve seen pictures, good heavens, I can’t imagine how those cows cope with such a huge udder swinging under them!) often leaking milk out of their udder just before they calve, and most cows get even looser in the hind end. Sasha had only minimal goopiness, too – so I had actually thought we might be a few more days yet. Guess this is what it looks like for her! I’m glad I got the pictures, so I’ll know for next time.

Time to head back out and see if the calf has found the calfeteria yet. :)


  1. A good two hours after his birth, momma passed the placenta (that's always a good thing), and he was trying valiantly to nurse ... but she swells up so huge it was hard for him to get a good grip. I milked her out a little and gave him a decent shot of colostrum via bottle - and he promptly went to mama for more, so that was really good to see. You want them to get that stuff within the first 2-5 hours so they get all the benefit of the passive immunity, and he was getting too tired to keep fighting for milk on his own, so it was good to give him a bit of a head start. The two of them are now enjoying the sunshine. :)

  2. aww, he is adorable. Lonna, I am learning so much from you...I have never seen the things you have posted here and I am grateful for the education. You have a very full and most interesting life. Hmm, a "J" year?

  3. Yes, a J year at our farm - there is a 'formal' letter for each year, but we are off synch with that. We started with C - because we got a sheep named Cookie and The Boy wanted to call her lamb Crumb - the nice thing is by knowing names we know how old they are. We're up to J now ... seven years of livestock at Apple Jack Creek! :)


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