Time To Leave The Barn

We’re about half way done calving now. So far so good. There have been a lot of cold nights, and Harland has been checking the cows and calves most nights to make sure everyone is ok. It’s not been a very muddy spring and that’s a good thing. Slogging through slop all day is not good for anyone. About half of the heifers (first time moms) have calved , and they’ve all done it on their own with no assistance from us.

Three more heifers calved yesterday. The first came about 1 am, and the 2nd in the afternoon. Harland put them both in the barn where they each got their own pen. Harland puts all new moms in the barn so he can make sure the moms have bonded with the babies and the babies have nursed from their moms. Once he sees that everyone is doing ok, he lets them out of the barn into the pasture near our house with the other moms and babies. When I got home from work, Harland was ready to let the two new moms out with their babies.

Here’s the one that was born at 1 am.


Note that Mom is giving me the evil eye. “Don’t touch my baby. I mean it. I’ll flatten you in a heartbeat puny human.”

I didn’t get a pic of the 2nd mom who had her baby in the afternoon, but I did get a video of Harland releasing him and his mom, along with the 1st mom and calf out into the pasture around 6 pm:

The 3rd heifer of the day to have her calf was pacing around in a pen where Harland had put her at 3pm. He had seen her standing in the lot with the other heifers switching her tail about as if a fly was biting her butt. Except that it was below freezing yesterday and there were no flies. Heifers and cows will sometimes switch their tails when they are in labor. So Harland put her in a pen in the barn.

Three hours later at 6 pm, we checked on her to see if there was any progress. There wasn’t. She looked like she was pushing, but there wasn’t the usual amniotic sac hanging out and no little feet were showing. We were worried, and hoped we wouldn’t be having a late night session of calf pulling.  We ate supper and then Harland left to attend a fire meeting.

At 7:30 pm, I waltzed up to the barn to check on the heifer again. I didn’t expect to find any change, but as I neared the barn I could hear her mooing softly like new mothers do to their calves.

“Nah..couldn’t be,” I thought as I entered the barn. But lo and behold, there she was, standing over a wet bundle in the straw.


(taken with my cell phone camera)

She had given birth, was on her feet, and had removed the amniotic sac from the calf, all of which was great for a first time mom. I watched her nudging the new calf to stand.

But as I watched I grew concerned…she was doing more than nudging – she was shoving him roughly about  and screaming in his ear too. He was doing his best to stand but she kept knocking him over or pushing him against the barn wall. One thousand pounds against 60 pounds is not a fair match. She continued to push him about until she pushed him right under the gate and out of the pen.

Well, ok then! Now the calf was safe from his crazy mother, but he wasn’t going to be able to nurse. And his mom, now separated from her baby, got frantic. She bawled loudly, shoved her bulk against the gate, and literally foamed at the mouth.

The situation had gone from bad to worse.

Stay tuned…..



Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

You may also like...

6 Responses

  1. Rebecca says:

    TO BE CONTINUED…!!!!!????!!!!
    Oh my goodness!!!

  2. Kathy S. says:

    What do you mean TO BE CONTINUED? I want to know what happened NOW!

  3. Martha L says:

    Okay … so I laughed out loud in my living room as I read the caption you wrote for the first heifer giving you the evil eye, only to be left in suspense over the heifer with “mad cow disease” (a.k.a. I-pushed-my-calf-under-the-gate-and-now-I-am-panicking … I thought mad cow was shorter). Eagerly awaiting part 2 … …

  4. Alica says:

    This is beginning to sound a little bit like the “evil” heifer from last year! I’ll be waiting for “the rest of the story”…

  5. shoreacres says:

    Oh, my gosh. It’s a cattle cliff-hanger! I’m looking forward to the next installment… I think.

  6. Jeanne says:

    Ohhh! This is just too frustrating! I can’t stand the waiting!! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.