Thursday, April 20, 2006

A Brand New Calf

C23, a large red colored cow, was looking thoughtful, which is how a cow looks when she is close to delivering. Although not perhaps the most descriptive term, it seemed apt to me because a calf is a lot to think about.

She went into labor and was moved into a nice pen with fresh straw for the calf to lie on. During the evening we waited. The stockman worked late into the evening, but the calf had not yet made its presence felt. The hooves were small; it should be an easy birth unless there were twins. Farming, especially calving, seems to be all about watching out for the unless-es.

So at 10 o'clock, my husband and I bundle into work clothes and wellies and walk under the sharp cold stars to check on C23. The barn is quiet as we enter with cattle chewing the cud or sleeping or looking out the window. They stir only a little as we turn on the lights. As soon as we turn the corner to the quiet pen, we see C23 looking warily at us and huddled, still wet and shivering wide- eyed looking back at us is a lovely little red-brown calf.

When calves come in the usual way, their front hooves are either side of their heads and they swim out of the warm watery world of the uterus. Little red-brown has just made his swim into this world. He needs his mother's tongue to towel him off and begin assuring him that he is as safe now as when he was a swimmer.

We leave as gently as we can because we are an unnecessary intrusion. As soon as we are out of sight, I hear C23 begin the quiet rumbling sing song of the secret language of mother to calf.


At 5:14 PM, Anonymous ampiggy said...

I've seen several piglets slide into the world. This was at the Indiana State Fair. I don't remmber the momma talking to the babies but I wish I'd at least tried to listen for it. The nice thing about the birth was that all the fair-goers crowded 8 or 10 people deep, kept making sure the others had had a chance to get up front to really see.

At 2:59 PM, Blogger ZACL said...

I could have been there, though not swimming.

It's a pit the sounds of the language of mother and calf cannot be recorded. In my mind, I hear lapping and snuffling.

At 6:01 PM, Anonymous molly gunason said...

I find it hard to vision. My sister really enjoing the sound of cattle. See Sis I told uou it was fun.It brought back so many memories for me. Thanks for them.

At 7:27 AM, Blogger landgirl said...

Don't you wish people could hold on to that good will they can find in themselves?


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