Friday, August 15, 2014

A Blessed Event At Windswept Farm

Scarlett's udder filled to overflowing and she became nervous, separating herself from the rest of the herd. I knew she was beginning to go into labor. She was at the far end of the pasture and I could hear coyotes howling not far away, so I gradually pushed her back toward the barn:

 I went outside to check on her quite a few times before I saw this - tiny white hooves sticking out of her backside. She was arching her back and straining, so I knew a calf would appear shortly. It was almost dark and my camera tried valiantly to adjust for it:

 Apparently she felt embarrassed, so she walked over between the manure/hay pile and fence where I couldn't see her. When I saw her lie down, I climbed up on top of the pile for better, safer viewing:

I thought nothing was happening - until she stood up and began licking her newborn calf. The other cows suddenly ran full speed across the pasture to see what had happened. They must have been able to smell something, because no sound was made:

The calf was beneath the bottom fence wire. It was not electrified, but the upper wires were. I ran into the barn and shut off the power. By the time I got back, the calf had slipped entirely beneath the fence and was outside, unable to get back in. So I slipped through the wires and pushed it back under the fence to its mom:

 By this time it was quite dark, though my camera's automatic eye makes it look as if it was daylight. Scarlett licked her new baby while the other cows hung around for moral support and out of curiosity. They have since become protective, loving aunties to the little one:

 When mom and baby lay down, I went to bed:

 The next morning, I drove the tractor out into the field to find the calf. I figured that if Scarlett got overly protective, I could jump back up on the tractor. I found the calf sleeping in the grass, with Scarlett quite far off with the other cows:

 But she kept an eye on me as I checked out her little one. And I kept an eye on her, unsure how protective she might become:

 The baby turned out to be a heifer (female) and looked very healthy, though she had extra teats like her mom. Since mother and calf were both so compliant at the moment, I ran back into the house and returned with tattoo equipment. I got the job done, though I made an awful mess with the tattoo ink:

 I named the baby girl Rosella, after one of my aunts. I always thought it was a nice, old fashioned name and any name with "rose" in it seemed appropriate for a red cow:

 You can see the excess of green ink in Rosella's ear. I put a tattoo number in each ear as required by the Red Poll Association. Stay tuned for further updates:

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