There is so much to catch up on…leaving Sierra Leone, a road trip from Texas to New York, moving onto a new farm, bees, chickens…so much change in a few months.
But I’m skipping ahead of all those stories and introducing you to a new little life…a heifer calf from my most favorite cow. Honey calved yesterday morning in a brushy patch hidden away in the pasture. I found her laboring around 8am and stayed to watch her through it. It’s a really amazing thing to watch such a large animal give birth. She passed the calf just two hours later and immediately went to the business of licking her clean. Honey loves babies and is an exceptional mama. I was hoping for a heifer calf with horns, but it doesn’t look like this little girl has any horn buds. I may keep her anyway…
Her name is Pecan. I visited them hours later and they were both laying down in the same spot she gave birth. I let them be and came back to see them two hours later. Honey hadn’t cleared her afterbirth yet and I wasn’t convinced the calf had figured out how to nurse. Honey is older and has a somewhat misshapen udder, not the easiest for calves to figure out.
I went back an hour later knowing I had to get the calf to drink colostrum before nightfall. Fortunately, Honey cleared her afterbirth but was looking very uncomfortable with such a full udder. I cleaned her up (she likes to be a very clean cow) and milked about a gallon out of her to relieve her pain. I tried coaxing the calf onto her, but she just wasn’t getting it. I decided to pour Honey’s colostrum into a calf bottle and see if she would nurse. She is a strong little girl! Fighting being held with everything she had, she also sucked down about a half gallon of Honey’s milk. So, I left them for the night with a full belly and a little relief. As I was leaving, they were finally making their way out to pasture.
I will have to work with them today to get the calf to nurse from her mama, but hopefully she now has the energy and will to do just that.