Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Meet Maggie, The New Calf

I have always used artificial insemination on my Red Polls, so it is easy to calculate their "due date." Of course I know that is only an approximation, but my cows have always been four to eight days later than the due date so I was surprised when Scarlett went into labor only one day late. By noon that day I found her with a tiny, wobbly, wet calf:

The new baby lay in the grass and of course I wanted to know its gender:

Scarlett seemed to trust me, so I walked close enough to inspire the baby to stand up:

Scarlett was fine with me examining her baby but she flew into a rage when the two little horses tried to get close. I lifted its tail and declared it a heifer calf:

Gracie, the proud aunt, and the other cows came over to check out the new arrival:

I saw that Scarlett was passing the afterbirth but knew that could be a long process:

I kept driving out to take a look and see how things were going. Scarlett passed her afterbirth and it lay in the field all day until I used a manure fork to flip it into a five gallon pail and carry it out into the woods. I didn't want to attract coyotes:

I kept driving out to see the new mother and baby. Mom wouldn't come in for grain, so I drove out with a bowl of food. A lactating mother would need extra nourishment:

Also, I wanted to get a better look at the little one, who I named Maggie at the suggestion of a friend:

Scarlett is a good mother, both nurturing and protective although she also deposits her newborn calves in the grass until she's ready to nurse them again:

On the second day I noticed something wrong. Maggie wasn't standing properly and seemed to be rocking back on her pasterns as if they were weak. I quickly did an internet search and read that this often corrects itself as the calf grows. Also, since Maggie was born earlier than any others so far, I considered that she might simply be less developed. I am happy to report that the condition did indeed correct itself:

I kept bringing grain (with mineral supplements) out to Scarlett until the third day, when she came into the barn for it on her own. Little Maggie is growing rapidly and many of the photos I am getting now show milk foam dripping from her mouth. She is eating well!:


  1. Patsy in Pauma ValleySeptember 20, 2016 at 5:04 AM

    Congratulations, Bill, on an another beautiful healthy calf. It is good that they are getting minerals with their feed. The Great Lakes region's soils are deficient in selenium, thus there's little in the grass the Red Poll Girls - and their calves, eventually, will eat. But the young 'uns will get it from Mama's milk. You can be proud of your herd, and your work with them. You're a natural!

  2. I so enjoy reading and seeing how you progress through the various stages with your little babies. Welcome Maggie; you are adorable!

  3. Too cool. Welcome Maggie..your beautiful..
    Hug her for me and Tabitha too.

    1. I'll tell her you said hello, but they don't allow any hugging.